Posted at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2013

Group awarded $1 million to support veteran program

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has awarded the SouthWest Wyoming Recovery Access Programs (SW-WRAP) more than $1 million to fund the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSFV) program in the region for one year. Because of this, veterans in Wyoming now have a resource designed specifically for transitioning from military to civilian life

Veterans have been a part of a different kind of culture in their careers, which can make transitioning difficult. However, not only is it difficult on the veteran but on the veteran’s family as well.

The VA offers community-based grants to establish SSFV across the country in an effort in to help veteran families survive deployment, discharge and find permanent housing.

While the percentage of veteran homelessness dropped 12 percent from 2010–2011, it remains that one is seven homeless adults is a veteran, according to surveys conducted by the Center for American Progress in December 2011.

The SSVF program aims to improve low-income veteran family housing stability. David Sones, SSVF case management and compliance officer for Cheyenne, said: “The Veteran Affairs and the VA medical center have, for years, focused on homelessness in the veteran. They wanted to eliminate homelessness by 2016. The problem is they were focusing on the veteran but not on the veteran families.”
This group is open to all honorably discharged veterans, combat and noncombat.

The applicants go through a screening process and, if they are cleared for assistance, are set up with a caseworker. The caseworker then works to establish a solid housing situation along with setting up concrete resources.

When the program is contacted, the family is provided with “outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits,” according to a program fact sheet published by the VA. The family is connected with a caseworker who helps them first establish their housing situation, not shelters, but a house or apartment of their own. Caseworkers will even contact landlords if problems arise.

The next priority would be to further the veteran’s education.

At Laramie County Community College, veterans are referred to career counselors. Veteran students are taught to build a résumé and goals, both of which help point them in the professional direction they would like to go in the civilian world.

Sones said some of the veterans returning from deployment are sick. They have endured stress in a very different world and are trying to reintegrate into the civilian world, sometimes having trouble multitasking or focusing. When trying to readjust to the civilian world, theses struggles build a barrier. The SSFV is there to “un-stone those walls,” Sones said.

More information, such as how to start the eligibility process, can be found at swwrap.com or by calling the main SW-WRAP office at 307-875-2196.


More Veterans' Day coverage: