Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) provides services for Veterans experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness. As the single provider in Arkansas, this program serves fourteen counties and has its main office at St. Francis House with a satellite office in Fayetteville.
Under the direction of Pat Dahlgren, the program has grown from four counties to fourteen since 2004. Under the SSVF program, the VA awards grants to private non-profit organizations to help low-income veterans living in or transitioning to permanent housing. Recently, the grant to the St. Francis House program has been significantly increased. The additional half a million dollars will allow St. Francis House to serve all homeless Veterans in central Arkansas.
It will increase funds available for Homeless Prevention for those veterans currently in housing, but who have gotten an eviction notice, intervening in the downward spiral that can lead to homelessness, by assisting with rent and utilities.
Rapid Rehousing, a short-term process that assists Veterans who are experiencing homelessness, will also have an increase in funds to help more Veterans with housing searches, security deposits, and utility deposits, as well as proving a six to nine-month safety net as Veterans move into self-sufficiency.
Finally, funds will be available for Rapid Resolution, a process where Veterans who are not on the street, but also not in permanent housing, can be helped to identify options, such as family mediation, if family difficulties could result in homelessness or even financial assistance if the Veterans’ living accommodation is causing a financial difficulty for family or caregiver.
It’s a huge number of Veterans spread out over a large area, and the question is often asked: “What about the Veterans who don’t live in Little Rock or Fayetteville?” That’s where the SSVF outreach case manager comes in. If a Veteran can’t get to an office, the SSVF team goes to them. “We go to all the shelters, government offices, police departments, even small grocery store stores, and service stations if that’s where most people congregate. And if someone calls us and can’t here, we go to them.”
Perhaps the largest problem facing the SSVF team, says Ms. Dalgren, is that SSVF has so many moving parts, intersecting with so many federal agencies. “Sometime we can’t do what people think we should be able to do. What I would tell them is always call, set up a meeting, find out. And if you have questions or a real need that isn’t being met, push back. Ask more questions, contact me. We will do whatever we can do to help.”
We are so proud of the SSVF team and their dedication to serving Veterans throughout Arkansas. They are a huge part of what makes St. Francis house great!