Innovative Podcast Series Explores Veteran Issues

Innovative Podcast Series Explores Veteran Issues

Having helped thousands of veterans secure and maintain housing in Massachusetts since 1985, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) launched the podcast, Voices of VNEOC, earlier this year to shed light on other related issues.

“Housing is a big part of what we do, but it is absolutely not all we do,” said VNEOC’s John Ford, who initially pitched the idea of the podcast series to Jordan Rich of Chart Productions.

Having kept listeners company during their commutes for years as morning drive host for Boston stations like WRKO and WSSH-FM, Rich said he did not need much convincing.

“I have always been a big supporter of veterans, so this project seemed like an important way to demonstrate this commitment to address serious issues affecting our veterans,” he said.

Jordan Rich

These issues include mental health, food insecurity and suicide, all of which have been addressed in the first two episodes of Voices for VNEOC.

“This is a hard-hitting series that looks at the reasons why some veterans struggle after their military service,” explained Ford, who said VNEOC also serves southern NH. “Our hope is to educate the general public on why veterans need our support.”

To that end, Ford said VNEOC recently launched a year-end fundraising campaign, “Voices for Veterans,” which he hopes will not only raise money, but awareness.

“With proper support within a clinical framework, we can help veterans get their lives squared away and become self-sufficient, which is VNEOC’s mission,” he said. 

The ongoing pandemic, however, has made this mission more difficult.

“Revenues are down, expenses are up — this is a very challenging time for not just veterans, but our staff,” said Ford. “We are working as lean as we possibly can, but we are in a financially challenging position right now and need help.”

Rich said he hopes Voices of VNEOC, distributed by Fast Twitch Media, can help propel “Voices for Veterans.”

“VNEOC is an incredible organization,” he said. “I hope our podcast shows their commitment to our veterans and that they are worthy of community support.”

Serving southern NH and northeastern MA, including MetroWest and the Cape, VNEOC provides basic food and housing, advocacy, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families. 

To subscribe to Voices of VNEOC, or support “Voices for Veterans, click here.

Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) launches Voices for Veterans Campaign

Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNEOC) launches Voices for Veterans Campaign

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.