A foundation is proposing a phased program to house homeless and at-risk veterans on island that will later extend to a mentorship program for at-risk youth.
At the Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting this week, representatives from the Western Pacific Veterans Community Foundation Integrated Services described the program concept which provides wholistic assistance to homeless and at-risk veterans — from housing, medical services, health and wellness to counseling.
Charlie Hermosa, foundation president, says these veterans include those who are living with mental illnesses or physical impairment who are experiencing barriers to employment or experiencing issues with retaining employment due to the lack of support.
He says the mission of the foundation is to take these veterans, help them, and reintegrate them back into society.
Phase 1 starts with providing housing and services for clients within a controlled environment such as the Ladera Towers.
“The Ladera Towers, for us, signifies– provides the ability to house the veterans — we are also able to put together a system within Ladera Towers that gives them sort of a one-stop-shop. The one-stop-shop takes into account training, education, medical facilities, and security,” Hermosa said.
He says the Ladera Towers would be the perfect ”proof of concept for the program.” Once successful, the next phase would be the Sinajana project — a 21-acre community of modular homes put together by the veterans themselves
“But we want to be able to train the veterans to be able to go through the program — to be able to act as foreman. They are putting something that is going to be their own,” Hermosa said.
Part of Phase 2 includes a quasi-military boot camp where at-risk youths will be taught life skills. In coordination with the National Guard, veterans can participate in mentoring youths enrolled in the program.