Group helps vets cope with war zone stress

Veteran Bill Fly talks about his time in the United States Air Force, and then as a general contractor with the Department of Defense.

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Amid budget cuts, Calif. Gov. Brown still dreaming

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While most other states are limiting expectations as they try to recover from the recession, Gov. Jerry Brown is dreaming of a bright future for his native California.

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HOW TO START A HOMELESS VETERAN PROGRAM

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Start a Vet Program

HOW TO START A HOMELESS VETERAN PROGRAM

Determine Need
Learn About Nonprofit Organization Management
Additional Resources

DETERMINE NEED

Gather data from

Homeless Coordinator at VA Medical Center nearest you
Your city, county or state’s Homeless Coalition (click here for the most recent CHALENG report)
Local service providers
Police
Formerly homeless veterans
Your state’s homeless coordinator (usually appointed by Governor)

Answer questions

How many homeless are there?
How many of those are veterans?
What services are currently available?
What services are missing in order to break the cycle of homelessness?
What are the short-, medium- and long-range needs?
What resources are available?
What additional resources are needed?
Who is involved now?
Who could/should be involved?

Most of this information can be found in the CHALENG report.

Visit or talk to other homeless veteran programs

NCHV has a list of providers throughout the nation that can be used as contacts. Click here to locate community-based service providers in your area.

Involve Others

Select an organizing committee of individuals that might be interested in attacking this issue. At this stage, it’s wise to select individuals that can see the big picture and the long road. Individuals that are doers have a hard time during the development stage sitting around talking and planning. They want to be doing, not talking! Click here for our fact sheet on collaboration.

Develop

Mission
Goals and objectives
Business plan
Resource plan – e.g. people, things, money that you will need
Budget
Bylaws
Program guidelines

Test

Is there enough commitment to make the plan work?
Is there enough access to resources to make plan work?
Is your plan meeting the needs of homeless veterans within your community?

LEARN ABOUT NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION MANAGEMENT

Management

Starting a Homeless Veteran Program
Organizational Planning

Effective Board Development

Board of Directors
Risks, responsibilities, recruitment, demographics and client representation
Committee structure
Tenure
Executive committee

Financial Management

Tips for Grantseeking
Restricted funds versus unrestricted funds
IRS 990 filing requirements
Charitable solicitation requirements
Director and officer liability insurance

Annual Reports

Creating an Annual Report
Why and how?

Apply for 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt status

Obtaining a 501(c)(3) status gives the organization access to grants from federal and state governments, as well as private and corporate foundations.
The process takes 2-6 months, from filling out an application to receiving ruling from the IRS. The complete process is described here.
It will be necessary to have a mission, business plan, budget, bylaws and a board of directors before applying.
Each state has different requirements to become a nonprofit organization. Check these requirements prior to completing IRS application.

Participate in Local Homeless Coalitions

HUD Continuum of Care

Develop partnerships that will assist in meeting the needs of homeless veterans.

Often local coalitions assign or influence the priorities for government funds. If you are not at the table, you will be less likely to receive a share.

Develop a Public Education and Marketing Campaign

Brochures or one-piece information “fact sheets” are helpful to educate or request investments from the community. Make sure yours look professional and answer the basic who, what, where, when, why and how questions.
Prepare several individuals to be speakers for the organization. Educating the community often happens at organization meetings, and you need a representative that can face an audience and gain their support.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Fact Sheets
Homeless Veterans Fact Sheet
How to Advocate for Homeless Veterans
Nonprofit Resources
BoardSource builds exceptional nonprofit boards and inspires board service. Call 877-892-6273 or visit their website for more information.
National Council for Nonprofit Associations: Most states have a nonprofit association that provides technical assistance to other nonprofits. Click here to find the association nearest you.
Jossey-Bass Publishers have a wide variety of topics for nonprofits. Call 415-433-1767 for a catalog or visit their website.
Fieldstone Alliance has a wide variety of topics for nonprofits. Call 1-800-274-6024 for a catalog or visit their website.

Start a Vet Program

The first city-operated day center for chronically homeless persons

In October 2009, as part of the city’s Leading the Way initiative, Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston dedicated and opened the Weintraub Day Center which is the first city-operated day center for chronically homeless persons. It is a multi-service center, providing shelter, counseling, health care, housing assistance, and other support services. It is a 3,400-square-foot (320 m2) facility located in the Woods Mullen Shelter.

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Homeless veterans are target of new housing initiative

Making a transition to civilian life after duty as a US Coast Guard seaman who boarded ships in the Persian Gulf looking for weapons of mass destruction was not easy for Christopher McDonald.

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United States Congress: $25 million Homeless Assistance Grants

The United States Congress appropriated $25 million in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants for 2008 to show the effectiveness of Rapid Re-housing programs in reducing family homelessness.

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