Serving southern NH and northeastern MA, including MetroWest and the Cape, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) has launched Voices for Veterans to help bridge funding gaps that result from COVID-19.
“The pandemic has stressed our entire funding model with money that had been earmarked for us instead diverted to other areas of need in the communities we serve,” said VNEOC’s John Ford, director, outreach & development. “Historically, we have never formally asked for assistance from the communities we serve, but that is just not sustainable.”
The fundraising goal for Voices for Veterans is $100,000 by the end of December, 2020.
“The need is urgent, which is why we have launched this campaign, which includes GivingTuesday on December 1,” he added. “Our hope is to create a synergy among community members where individual gifts serve as leverage to encourage others.”
Founded in 1985, VNEOC provides basic food and housing, advocacy, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families. These programs and services, explained Ford, are part of “a comprehensive approach aimed at self-sufficiency.”
“The veterans we serve are in transition from unstable to stable environments,” Ford said. “We offer a lot of support in the beginning of their journey with us, but then scale it back through time until they are able to manage their daily lives on their own.”
According to Rachel Hagen, who manages VNEOC’s Transition in Place (TIP) program, the agency’s services are designed to address root causes of the issues that have destabilized veterans’ lives. VNEOC’s services, she explained, work only when participants are motivated to succeed.
“We do not offer handouts,” she said. “In my program, for instance, our role is to help veterans set goals and develop the skills needed to achieve them.”
As veterans progress through TIP, they assume more of the costs associated with their housing.
“They then transition out of the program,” she said.
In looking ahead, Ford said he hopes that a public ask for support will help “rally the communities” served by VNEOC.
“We can’t forget our veterans, many of whom face a complex array of circumstances when they return to civilian life ” he said. “They served us, so we must do all we can to serve them. We need their voices to ‘be heard,’ which is our campaign’s rallying cry.”
To contribute to Voices for Veterans click here.