VA Maryland Health Care System
VA Maryland Health Care System Receives Saint Pio Foundation Donation to Help Homeless Veterans
(BALTIMORE, Md.) – The Saint Pio Foundation has selected the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Homeless Veterans Program for a two-part donation. Opera singer Luciano Lamonarca, who is also president and CEO of the Saint Pio Foundation, presented the first part of the donation on March 18—a check for $20,000— to Dr. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. The second part of the donation will be presented later this spring and will consist of a portion of the proceeds from the foundation’s 2nd Annual Saint Pio Award Ceremony.
“The VA Maryland Health Care System is committed to serving veterans when and how they need it. We consider homelessness a health care issue and we’re tackling this issue in a number of ways, including collaborations with community partners and with Baltimore City,” said Dr. Adam M. Robinson, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “We’re grateful that the Saint Pio Foundation has recognized our efforts to serve homeless veterans and are joining as a new community partner.”
Thanks to the generous support of the Saint Pio Foundation, homeless veterans throughout Maryland will receive transportation assistance, meals, clothing, and household supplies to get them started in their new apartments. Their contribution will also be used to fund the clothing room, the kitchen and the laundry facility at the VA Maryland Health Care System’s new Community Resource & Referral Center, which is a unique walk-in program designed to assist homeless veterans in obtaining an array of VA and non-VA services and link them to a variety of community partners.
The Center specializes in providing homeless veterans with financial planning and assistance, employment services, primary and mental health care, treatment for substance abuse disorders, and placement in safe and stable housing. The Center also offers homeless veterans with basic necessities such as showers, laundry services, clothing and meals.
“Our goal is to make the instances of homelessness among the veterans we serve brief and rare,” said Christopher Buser, chief of Social Work Service for the VA Maryland Health Care System. “We have expanded the number of clinicians on our team—social workers, case managers, nurse practitioners--all focused on serving veterans experiencing homelessness to achieve our ultimate goal of leaving no veteran behind.”
The needs of homeless veterans are coordinated by the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Community Integration Services using a three-pronged approach: outreach, transitional housing, and permanent and supportive housing.
Outreach social workers visit encampments of the homeless in search of veterans in an effort to link them to appropriate and needed medical and mental health services. They also assist veterans into a form of housing that best serves his or her needs.
The transitional housing team provides more than 400 contract and grant per-diem housing options at 10 community partner facilities throughout the state. It also provides outreach, case management, employment counseling, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and medical and dental services.
Permanent and supportive housing is offered through a joint effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA Supportive Housing Program, known as HUD-VASH, that is designed to move veterans and their families out of homelessness and into permanent housing. HUD provides housing assistance through its Housing Choice Voucher Program that allows homeless veterans to rent privately owned housing. The VA then offers the homeless veterans access to clinical and supportive services through comprehensive case management.
The Saint Pio Foundation’s mission is to continue the charitable works performed by the Italian-born Capuchin Monk, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, who especially focused on the sick and included founding a hospital called the Home for Relief of Suffering, currently owned by the Holy See. At its 2nd annual award ceremony, which is being held on May 27, 2016, at the Naval Heritage Center in Washington, DC, Actor Gary Sinise, known for his support of various veterans’ organizations, and the Honorable Robert “Jim” Nicholson, former U.S. Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, will be honored with Saint Pio Awards. Other guests of honor include Actors Joe Mantegna and Tony Lo Bianco; the Honorable Robert Astorino, Westchester County Executive (NY); His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; and His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United Nations and to the Organization of American States. For more information about the 2nd Annual Saint Pio Award Ceremony on May 27, visit http://www.saintpiofoundation.org/event/2ndsaintpioawardceremony/