Homeless and at-risk Veterans will have 24 hour access to help when Washington DC VA Medical Center (DCVAMC) opens the doors to its new Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) May 9. The new CRRC is the first of its kind in the metropolitan DC area and will serve as a community hub to combat homelessness among Veterans. The CRRC will centralize services, such as healthcare, housing, employment, benefits and education—into a collaborative center located in the heart of the community.
The VA's efforts to provide services to homeless and at-risk Veterans are supported by many federal agencies and community organizations. The CRRC will bring these diverse agencies under one roof. For example, case workers who specialize in HUD-VASH housing vouchers, DCVAMC Healthcare for Homeless Veterans program specialists, Veterans Benefits Administration representatives, as well as vocational rehabilitation specialists, and mental health counselors will be based there.
According to Dr. Fuad Issa, the Community Resource and Referral Center's Medical Director, having comprehensive services in one location is especially beneficially to Veterans at risk for homelessness. "Homelessness is often a consequence of multiple factors and Veterans benefit by having a one-stop shop to address those issues." Co-locating agencies ensures that Veterans have easy access to the recovery-oriented services they need.
The Center, located at 1500 Franklin St. N.E. in Washington, D.C. has easy access to public transportation and will be open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It will link Veterans and their families to resources aimed at ending homelessness and promoting community reintegration, and play a crucial role in helping the VA reach its goal of ending homelessness among Veterans by the year 2015. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 9.