Hire Heroes Plan for Homeless Veterans

A collaboration between The Salvation Army’s Harbor House Veterans Component and Ideal Restoration’s support for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hire Our Heroes program will provide jobs for formerly homeless veterans.

Harbor House admits formerly homeless veterans with at least six months sobriety and Ideal Restoration is a disaster recovery company committed to assisting homeless veterans. The chamber is promoting the hiring of 500,000 veterans by 2014.

“The opportunity Ideal offers to hire our graduates is exactly what is needed to complete restoration of veterans to stable and productive lives,” says Harbor House Director Marcy Orosco. “Having a job means having a future with promise.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between rehabilitation programs like Harbor House and community agencies and employers, she adds: “Uncle Sam can’t do it alone. Businesses like Ideal collaborating with the safe, secure housing and training offered at Harbor House is essential to solving the problem.”

“I have been deeply touched by the plight of homeless veterans,” says Ideal Restoration CEO Jaclyn Carpenter, “I was grateful to discover Harbor House and the outstanding work it does. I think it is incumbent on private sector employers to make an effort to help these worthy heroes who stood up to be counted in our country’s hour of need. We have established a paid intern program for veterans leading to full time employment.”

The Ideal Restoration team provides emergency response for water damaged buildings in San Francisco. The company has also extended its Hire Our Heroes initiative to Swords to Plowshares, which also serves formerly homeless veterans,

The Hire Our Heroes program will be showcased at a Wednesday dinner for community supporters of the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center at Marines Memorial Club Hotel.

“Veterans will be provided essential assistance from the collaboration between Harbor House and Ideal Restoration,” says Craig Newmark, owner of Craigslist/Craigconnects.org and an Advisory Council member of Harbor Light Center. “I’m proud to be associated with Harbor House and their work. Our veterans have given up so much. It’s time for us to give back to them.”

Ervin Marin, a successful Harbor House participant who is about to graduate is very clear about how important programs like Hire Our Heroes are. “I had reached a crossroads in my recovery,” he says. “I was clean and sober and I was mending my relationship with my daughter. But, I could not provide her with a proper home unless I found a job. Ideal gave me a chance to prove myself and now I have a full time job that I love. Lots of people talk about helping vets. Ideal walks the talk.” (Interviews with Ervin can be arranged)

“The reality is homeless vets are just like the rest of us,” Carpenter says. “We all deserve a second chance. I am honored to be able to help.”

Background facts

Harbor House

In the world of social services Harbor House is designated reentry housing.” In short, that means that a participant is ready to establish an independent residence and reenter the workplace.

A new participant must have six months clean and sober to be admitted and can stay for a maximum of two years. During the stay they must spend 32 hours per week either working or seeking a job. The rest of their time includes group and individual counseling, job seeking, resume and skills development, recovery and treatment planning. socializing with other residents, bonding between parents and children, and other tasks.

A key element of the program is the reunification of participants with their children. Harbor House has a court advocacy component that works with the courts to insure successful outcomes. All participants at Harbor House are involved in this reunification process. They live in individual mini-apartments with their children that include a separate bath and kitchen.

The facility can house roughly 82 people including adults and their children. There is room to accommodate 29 adults both men and women.

Ideal Restoration

Ideal is a pioneer in the disaster recovery industry and was founded in 1973. The family owned business uses and often invents the latest technological tools to bring properties up to standard after such things as fire and water main ruptures. The staff has the specialized knowledge required of such work.

Services include wall drying of surfaces saturated with water after a fire or from other causes. Also included are Ideal’s expertise in damage caused by mold and sewer backups.

Ideal established Hire Our Heroes earlier this year and is geared to train up to five potential employees at a time.

Homeless Veterans Statistics (Source: U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless )

Homeless Veterans Service Record

23% of the homeless population are veterans
33% of the male homeless population are veterans
47% served Vietnam-era
17% served post-Vietnam
15% served pre-Vietnam
67% served three or more years
33% were stationed in war zone

Homeless Vets Background Information

76% experience alcohol and drug problems
46% are white males, compared to 34% of non-veterans
46% are age 45 or older, compared to 20% non-veterans
89% received an honorable discharge
85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
25% have used VA homeless services
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas

Immediate needs cited include:

45% need help finding a job
37% need help finding housing

The challenge for California:

Far and away the most homeless vets of any of the 50 states

Northern California/Northern Nevada homeless veterans any given night estimated at 12,771
Southern California/Southern Nevada homeless veterans any given night estimated at 13,847
California has a quarter of all the homeless veterans in the country.

How many homeless veterans are there?

Over the course of a year more than 200,000 veterans are homeless. On any given night the number is estimated at 104,000.

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