Community Hope Provides Support and Services for Veterans
As part of our "Help for our Heroes" series, Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with J. Michael Armstrong, CEO of Community Hope, about the support they provide veterans and how Community Hope has become a place to call home.
"Welcome to our Help For Our Heroes series, we're shooting on location at the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, we are pleased to be joined by J. Michael Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of an organization called Community Hope, which does Michael? We provide housing for the mental... for veterans and we do both residential, we do both transitional and permanent housing. We also do the SSVF program which... What does that mean? The SSVF program is Supported Services For Veterans Families, and it's a program designed to help veterans and their families either avoid homelessness, or if they become homeless, get rapidly rehoused. And we provide that service in 15 counties in New Jersey and 13 in Pennsylvania. Michael, why do so many veterans and their families find themselves dealing... struggling with housing issues? Well, I think there's a number of reasons. I think that, you know, the lack of preparation... I mean there's a... there was a study recently done of individuals leaving the Department of Defense, leaving active duty, and they found that only 40% were prepared... had job opportunities or had a job waiting for them when they come back, and I think that the families when everybody... and when a veteran comes back, there's a honeymoon period, everybody's excited about their return, and they don't think about those things, and you've got... here in Jersey you've got a couple things. I mean, you've got the lack of preparation for employment, you've got the high cost of living, and the high cost of housing, and then you've got the issues, the post-traumatic stress disorder, and all the other issues that veterans encounter once the honeymoon period over. Let's talk services. This series is also intended, largely intended to talk about outreach, how veterans can reach out, get that help and also how some organizations are reaching out to veterans to connect with them. A veteran, family member of a veteran right now watching saying, "We don't know what we're gonna do, we're concerned about where we're gonna live?" They're potentially homeless? Right. Who do they reach out for? Oh, they would call us. We have a 1-800 number, and we would help them identify, do they need transitional housing? Do they need permanent housing? Your number's up right now as you speak, but go ahead. Right, thank you. And we... whether... what kind of housing they need and what kind of support we can provide, and if we can't provide it we would, you know, refer them to one of the other great group of people that are gathered here today. We've got a lot of good services here in Jersey, not enough, but we have some... and they..."