The mission of COVO is to serve, assist and create support for the veterans of Central Oregon.
Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program
The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program assists homeless veterans receive the services they need to re-enter the labor force and access the local job market to find long term employment. Once in a desirable job with livable wages, these veterans can reclaim a position that they have earned in American society.
HUD-VASH Advocacy Project
Housing Works featured on KTVZ - 4/5/2012
Central Oregon has been approved for 10 HUD-VASH vouchers.
VA case workers have been hired to do case management for the program. COVO will assist our local housing authority (Housing Works) and the VA case worker to identify eligible veterans and advocate for these veterans on an individual basis to help insure that the veterans who are most deserving receive the vouchers. Because of our close working relationship with homeless veterans in Central Oregon, our advocacy will be critical to assisting the most deserving veterans in getting one of the vouchers and in participating in the HUD-VASH program.
Veterans Court Project
We are working with local judges, the prosecuting attorney, defense attorneys, the local court administrator, the VA CBOC clinic mental health staff and other community mental health providers to establish a veterans court for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI or other mental health issues that lead them to commit crimes.
Housing for Female Veterans, Female Veterans with Children and Veterans with Families – Beginning in the last quarter of 2010 we will be able to provide housing for single female veterans, female veterans with children and veterans with families. Currently we cannot house these veterans in Home of the Brave, which is for single men.
In January 2010 during a one-night homeless count we determined that there were approximately 240 homeless veterans in our 3-county Central Oregon area. A critical need that we found in the camps was for medical and dental care. In May 2010 a local community organization donated a van to COVO that does not run but can be repaired. We are partnering with volunteers from a local low-income medical clinic known as Volunteers in Medicine to establish five 2-person medical teams to go out into the homeless camps twice a month. We need financial support to help offset the cost of maintaining the van, purchasing fuel, obtaining medical supplies, covering insurance costs, etc. to operate the medical van project and we need volunteers to be drivers and to be part of the two-person medical teams.
More information to come...
We provide daily bus passes for homeless veterans so they can use the local Bend Area Transit Service to get to work, to get to the VA clinic or to get to other social services. We provide monthly bus passes to the homeless veterans who reside at Home of the Brave, our transitional house.
We use our offices to provide a mail address for homeless veterans so they will have a fixed address to get identification cards, drivers licenses, birth certificates, medical records for disability claims, medications mailed from VA hospital pharmacies, etc. We hold mail for homeless veterans and we provide them envelopes and stamps. We provide copying and fax services for homeless veterans. We provide our phones to enable homeless veterans to make long distance calls to medical providers, relatives and for business reasons.
Other Benefits Assistance
We operate as a clearing house to provide assistance to veterans, particularly disabled veterans, in obtaining benefits from local, state, county and federal programs, such as Social Security disability, where veterans benefits are unavailable or have been denied.
Veterans Service Officer
A Veterans Service Officer is stationed at our office to provide assistance to veterans in filing disability claims, appealing denials of claims or seeking an increase in disability payments.
DAV Shuttle Reservation Service
The Disabled American Veterans operates a shuttle van between Bend and the Portland VA that operates Monday – Friday each week. We operate the telephone reservation service that schedules veterans for the shuttle.
Potable Water Project to Homeless Camps
We have begun a project to provide safe drinking water to veterans in homeless camps to keep them from having to drink from local rivers, streams and irrigation canals, which are polluted with animal waste and toxic chemicals from farm and ranch runoff. We have pre-positioning 5-6 gallon water containers in the camps or with specific campers and we will fill them from a 55-gallon drum that we take out to the camps on weekly water runs.
We provide outreach (including food, clothing, camping supplies) to homeless veterans in Central Oregon. We have a storage room at our offices where we distribute these items to homeless veterans on the streets who come to our offices. In the first 6 months of 2010 we gave out:
Tents, Sleeping Bags, Camping Gear, Fuel 171
Food, Comfort Items (Hygiene Kits), Dog/Cat Food 153
Clothing, Shoes 140
Daily Bus Passes 184
Monthly Bus Passes 36
(This does not include the food and other items we take out to the camps and give out there.)
Christmas Day, 2010, Bend Bulletin Article about Homeless Outreach
Home of the Brave
“Home of the Brave” (HOB) Veteran’s Transitional Housing Program
Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, Inc. (COVO) operates a transitional housing program designed to provide homeless male veterans with an opportunity to reintegrate back into society and get their lives back on track through the development of skills, personal growth, recovery, self-reliance, productivity, community involvement and residential stability.
COVO owns a 6-bedroom house in a residential area of Bend, OR where the veterans live who are participating in the program.
The program is operated under a grant from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and is managed under the Portland VA’s Regional Office. The funds provided by the VA do not cover all the expenses of operating the home and COVO relies on grants and donations to meet all other costs.
A 90-day program for homeless male veterans who have a strong desire to become self-sufficient as a productive member of society and develop the skills necessary to obtain stable and permanent housing.
A participant who comes into the program develops a detailed Case Plan with the assistance and guidance of a dedicated Program Case Manager. The Case Manager is on site.
A participant may submit requests for 90-day extensions in the program and based on the level of progress demonstrated, may remain enrolled for a maximum of 24 months.
The home is in a residential area of Bend with easy access to the Bend Area Transit system, the Bend VA clinic and the Forum Shopping Center in Northeast Bend.
Bedrooms are single occupancy. Each bedroom has a half-bath. Common areas include the kitchen, dining room, living room, laundry area, etc.
The house is a clean and sober house. Participants may not use alcohol or other drugs on or off the premises, whether substance abuse has been a past issue or not. Visitors who have been drinking or who are under the influence of drugs are not allowed on the premises.
Must not have been discharged from the US military with a Dishonorable Discharge. Participants with Honorable, General, Other than Honorable or (under certain circumstances) a Bad Conduct Discharge are eligible for the program.
High personal motivation to participate in achieving Program goals.
Committed to maintaining a drug and alcohol free lifestyle
Income Enhancement – Participants are required to look for work, get and keep a job and/or engage in schooling or training designed to enhance their ability to get and keep a good job. Participants are required to obtain and maintain a savings account and save at least ½ their net income while in the Program.
Self-Determination – Participants are expected to take steps to resolve past life issues that contributed to their homelessness. These include steps to remove barriers such as resolving past or current legal issues, paying taxes, child support, engaging in counseling or alcohol or other drug treatment (if applicable) and/or taking necessary steps to maintain a clean and sober lifestyle. Participants are also expected to provide community service as part of giving back to the community.
Permanent Housing – Participants are expected to take steps to work toward obtaining permanent housing upon completion of the Home of the Brave program. These steps include taking classes such as Ready to Rent, resolving past evictions, if possible, and saving toward funds needed to obtain permanent and stable housing upon completion of the program.