Transitional Housing Program for Homeless Veterans
New Jersey has among its homeless population an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Our nation and our State, grateful for its hard won freedom and democracy, owes a special debt to veterans. That there are so many falling through the gaps in our society is a call to action. We must restore dignity and purpose to those who so unselfishly laid their lives on the line for our country.
The military teaches us to retrieve our wounded and bring them home. The Veterans Transitional Housing Program (VETERANS HAVEN) aims to meet this challenge on the streets, in the shelters and at the front lines of human existence where our brothers and sisters find themselves in their time of greatest need.
The Veterans Transitional Housing Program (Veterans Haven) is a New Jersey State operated facility for homeless veterans. After being medically evaluated at a VA Medical Center, eligible veterans must agree to a long term program focusing on psychological, social and vocational rehabilitation.
Veterans Haven is a drug and alcohol free program and residents must abide by this zero tolerance rule while enrolled. Random testing for both is constantly performed and violators are immediately involuntarily discharged from the program.
Veterans admitted to Veterans Haven come to a 100 bed, addictions free program with staff who are sensitive to the multiple needs they present.
The program is divided into three phases:
- Treatment (TR)
- Self-Reclamation (SR)
- Community Reintegration (CR)
Each phase lasts from three to six months and is tailored to individual treatment needs and vocational interests. Veterans completing the program return to vocations which will support them in years to come.
Veterans Haven is located in Camden County, rural South New Jersey in Winslow, New Jersey on the border of Atlantic and Camden Counties and serves veterans from all over the State of New Jersey. The program occupies one three story building on State property half way between Atlantic City and Camden on the Route 30 corridor. The facility is also on the main bus link between Atlantic City and Camden as well as the high speed train line.
The facility boasts a newly completed addition which increased facility capacity by 44 beds and added a new high tech computer lab, laundry rooms with state of the art machinery, an advanced fitness room, and renovated dining area.
Veterans Haven is funded by the State of New Jersey, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NJDMAVA) and supported by the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) and by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as well as a wide variety of service organizations, community agencies, veterans groups and private citizens.
Veterans Haven staff is comprised of diverse professionals specializing in mental health/social services counseling, addictions counseling, vocational rehabilitation counseling and nursing. There is also a 24 hour staff with varied duties to meet the needs of the residents ranging from mentorship to transporting residents for vocational and medical appointments, as well as transporting residents to and from required AA and NA meetings. The concept of veterans helping veterans is woven throughout the fabric of the program.
- Applicants must be a Veteran.
- Applicant must be drug and alcohol free at time of admission.
- Applicant must be unemployed or underemployed.
- Applicant must be employable.
- Applicant income at admission cannot exceed $1800 per month.
- Applicant must satisfactorily complete the interview process.
Veterans Haven offers a variety of services for veterans enrolled in our program. During the initial orientation period, all residents are required to be processed through the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. This is so the veteran can be given a complete physical, assigned a primary care physician and if needed given a PPD (TB) test, which is required for admission to Veterans Haven. During this period the Veteran is also required to register and take a variety of tests with The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Once completed, this will qualify most veterans for special programs available for special tools, clothing, vocational training and in some cases, school.
During their stay in Veterans Haven, all residents will be evaluated for addictions counseling. Those with a prior history of addictions or alcoholism will be required to make meetings as determined by the addictions counselors. Random testing for both drugs and alcohol are routinely conducted to ensure compliance with our zero percent policy. Those failing either test are immediately discharged from the program.
The vocational counselors will work with the veteran in becoming ready to look for employment which will be beneficial to the resident in their ability to living an active and productive life. After completing vocational testing, the veteran will complete a program plan with the vocational counselor which will best suit the veteran based on experience, education and available funds for school. All veterans admitted to Veterans Haven are required to find and maintain full time employment within six months of enrollment. Determination of employment may be made sooner by their case manager.
A social worker is also available for those who may require the need of individual counseling. Those needing specialized counseling such as PTSD are referred to the VA clinics in our area specializing in those issues.
A nurse is on staff to assist the resident in the day to day needs of medication monitoring, sick call and coordination with the Philadelphia VA Medical Center for all routine as well as specialized appointments.
Residents are also required to attend a variety of groups during their stay with us. These groups are designed to assist the veterans in preparing them for reentry into the workforce as well as dealing with numerous vocational issues, anger management groups, life skills issues, career groups, resume writing, basic computer training, health issues, money management, health and hygiene, just to name some.
Resource Guide for New Jersey Military Veterans and Families