Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a VA program that helps Veterans and their families who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. It provides assistance with finding housing, benefits eligibility, finding employment, and helping with security deposits.
St. Francis House has been a part of providing these services since Oct. 2012. The original grant served three counties- Pulaski, Lonoke, Saline, and Faulkner. Since then, the St. Francis House program has continually expanded and in 2017, grew to fourteen counties in Arkansas, adding Jefferson, Garland, White Benton, Washington, Madison, Arkansas, Conway, Hot Springs, and Grant. That expansion also added a satellite office in Fayetteville and new staff and made St. Francis Huse the single provider for SSVF serves in Arkansas.
This year, St. Francis House SSVF has expanded yet again. Recently SSVF received a grant from the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs effectively doubling the resources for SSVF in Arkansas. previous Director, Pat Dahlgren, describes SSVF as ” a lifeline to the community for Veterans and their families. And I can’t think of a more fulfilling population to help than our Veterans.”
Ms. Dahlgren has shepherded the program since its beginning. Recently, she stepped down as Director and turned the reins over to James Evans-Hammond. He began
at St. Francis House as a volunteer in July 2016 and quickly became a part of the St. Francis House team. When his internship began the next January, he began doing supervised case management with the Re-Entry program. “
When a position opened up in SSVF, Mr. Evans-Hammond was a natural choice. He worked full-time for St. Francis House while completing his second internship at Lucie’s Place. He has since worked with the Re-Entry program and then wrote the grant and got the GDP Case Management grant for St. Francis House. Mr. Evans Hammond says that the plans are to expand to be able to serve all of Arkansas effectively. That will eventually mean two more satellite offices in Jonesboro and El Dorado and one home office for a staff member who will travel to areas outside of the office service areas. “I’m very proud to be at St. Francis House. It’s rewarding to be doing what I’m doing, and there is honestly no place like St. Francis House. The staff is a family, and everyone is quick to help.”