How We Help the Homeless and Those At Risk of Homelessness
Volunteers of America is a major provider of services to individuals and families who are homeless and those at risk at homelessness. We help men, women and families achieve housing stability, which is often the first step to address more complex, persistent challenges such as behavioral health issues, domestic violence and inter-generational poverty.
While the majority of our clients are referred to us by government agencies, we also engage select homeless and at-risk individuals and families in the community who meet a certain criteria — such as veterans and homeless at JFK and Laguardia Airports — so that we may help them avoid homelessness and achieve housing stability.
We operate dozens of residential programs — some transitional, others permanent — that provide those in our care a supportive, service-rich environment in which to seek employment, further their education, secure benefits to which they are entitled, and regain their footing.
Outreach teams engage people at JFK and LaGuardia Airports who appear homeless. Our skilled workers build a rapport with these people and assess their needs, with the goal of convincing these men and women to accept our help. We also conduct outreach to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families through our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.
While permanent housing, often coupled with supportive services, is the best way to end homelessness, many individuals and families need short-term stabilization before they can find housing that will meet their long term needs. Volunteers of America-Greater New York operates shelters for adults who are in need of immediate shelter, allowing our staff to assess the reasons for their homelessness and determine the services for which these men and women are eligible.
Transitional housing is usually the step taken after an individual or a family has entered an emergency shelter before permanent housing can be found. Most often, people in our transitional housing are referred from our veteran population or women and children in our domestic violence shelters. During this time, they are put in an independent living program and our staff works with them to obtain a more permanent living situation.
For many homeless people with physical or behavioral health challenges, possibly coupled with substance use issues, permanent housing paired with intensive support services may prevent chronic homelessness.
The need for affordable housing and supportive services continues to grow, and Volunteers of America-Greater New York continues to respond by providing safe, supportive environments for some of the city's most vulnerable residents.