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Press Release: UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative Report Details Needs of Bristol County Veterans


UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative Report Details Needs of Bristol County Veterans

Needs of Bristol County Veterans Align with National Outlook

Author:  Joseph Sullivan [Contact]
Date:  May 23, 2014
Department:   Urban Initiative
Dartmouth, MA (May 23, 2014) -- The UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative has released a report detailing the needs of veterans in Bristol County. The Bristol County Veterans Needs Assessment, commissioned by the Veteran's Transition House (VTH) of New Bedford, integrates existing, original, and qualitative data to depict the status of veterans in the SouthCoast and the degree to which their health, housing, financial, and personal needs are being met by services in the region.

Among the major findings:

- The most basic needs of shelter, clothing, food, and access to medical care appear to be mostly met.

-Among least met needs are those that may prevent veterans from slipping into homelessness.

-New Bedford appears to attract more veterans struggling with homelessness than other Bristol County cities -- due in no small part to the presence of a successful transitional housing program that focuses on the needs of homeless veterans

-Bristol County veterans homelessness has been at a stable level between 2011 and 2013 indicating that service providers are taking steps to prevent increased veteran homeless, but have not yet implemented practices to eliminate it.

-Survey findings suggest that needs related to independent housing and financial stability require more attention, as does dental care.

To view the report in its entirety, click here.

The needs assessment will continue in order to enhance the ability of the survey data to inform decision-making and services provided to the region's veterans.  VTH will begin incorporating the survey as part of its intake process, which will allow the organization to monitor the changing needs of their residents and the ability of the region's service providers to meet them.

"We greatly appreciate the efforts of the Urban Initiative in adding substantive data and analysis to the discussion on how to best serve our veterans," said James Reid, Executive Director of the Veteran's Transition House. "It is essential to not only do all we can to help veterans in immediate need, but take proactive steps toward curbing and eliminating issues such as veterans homelessness. I hope this report and the continued needs assessment being undertaken will act as a catalyst to improve upon the challenges being faced by a number of our veterans and their families."

The Veterans Transition House (VTH) helps homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the South Coast of Massachusetts by providing shelter and services, with a special focus on healing from substance abuse and learning new life skills. The VTH is a nonprofit founded in 1990 by a group of Vietnam veterans and community leaders who recognized the vital need for housing and supportive services for area homeless and at-risk veterans--especially those tackling substance abuse--in the region. Its goal is the rehabilitation, self-sufficiency and reintegration of each veteran into the community.

The UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative was established in 2008 to align university resources with the challenges faced by and the opportunities available to Massachusetts' Gateway Cities, with an emphasis on neighboring Fall River and New Bedford. Not only does the Urban Initiative conduct community-based research in these cities and provide their organizations and institutions with technical assistance, but we also engage undergraduate and graduate students in this work to build their skills and encourage them to invest their talents in the state's smaller industrial cities.

For more information, contact Michael P. McCarthy at the Urban Initiative (508-910-6407 or u_m2mccarthy@umassd.edu) or James Reid at the Veteran's Transition House (508-992-5313 ext. 11).
 

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