At the turn of this year, myself and our team of leadership at the Rescue Mission began to cast a vision to serve the men and women who have served our country to defend our freedom. Our current and ongoing services to those who live in a disenfranchised state on the streets revealed a great need for veterans who had fallen through the cracks upon their retirement from service.
We developed a specific team comprised of veterans who go out 15 times a month to various Orange County locations to look for homeless veterans and offer help.
As of May, the street team has worked with 45 homeless veterans, and 35 of them have accepted help in one way or another. Eight of them are now living at the Village of Hope, our transitional housing facility in Tustin.
*photo courtesy of the OC Register: LEONARD ORTIZ , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
*Mike (above) is a veteran who was able to receive service from the Rescue Mission’s street team and is now living at the Village of Hope.
In a recent article in the Orange County Register, Mayor Al Murray shared:
“Their veterans outreach street team expands their already extraordinary work of reaching the homeless and hurting – going into the streets to find the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.” The Rescue Mission is partnering with the city of Tustin for the program. In January, Murray identified job-assistance and affordable housing programs for veterans as some of his second-term goals. The faith-based organization also is looking for property, particularly in Tustin, on which to create a Village of Hope for veterans, where homeless veterans would share a home and have access to Rescue Mission services.
Read more about our efforts to serve Orange County’s homeless veterans in the Orange County Register here.