We are excited to announce the start of a new program at Guild called Operation OVER. Operation OVER stands for Offering Veterans Every Resource. The goal of our new program is to end veteran homelessness in Hennepin County, Minnesota.
We know ending veteran homelessness is a lofty goal—especially with about 25% of veterans experiencing recurring homelessness—but, it’s a goal that we want to achieve. In fact, some cities have functionally ended veteran homelessness and can offer a homeless veteran housing within days or weeks of the person being identified as homeless. That’s our goal.
Operation OVER Aims to Help Veterans
Operation OVER’s main goal is lofty, but it’s possible. In more practical terms, the program aims to end veteran homelessness by equipping veterans with the resources they need to be successfully housed. This will likely mean something different for each person. It could mean getting assistance with Coordinated Entry to get a housing subsidy, getting help applying for GA, MA, and SSI, or getting connected with medical providers and Guild’s services.
Hundreds of Homeless Veterans in Minnesota
Veteran homelessness is all too common in Minnesota. As of now, there are around 300 homeless veterans, with about 50 being potentially eligible for Operation OVER. To be eligible for the program, veterans must be ineligible for other VA benefits. This might mean that the person has a dishonorable discharge, but there are many other reasons a veteran may not qualify for VA benefits. Our program aims to help those who fall through the cracks.
Without Help, Finding Housing Takes Months
Without support, it often takes homeless veterans several months to find housing. One key resource in that journey is the Homeless Veteran Registry. The Registry “connects veterans experiencing homelessness with housing and services in their area.” If you are a veteran and want to be on this registry, you can start the process at any time by calling 1-888-LinkVet (1-888-546-5838).
On average, it takes people about 150 days to be housed off of the Registry, but over 200 days for Hennepin County. At Guild, we know that sometimes people need extra help to find housing and secure resources. That’s where Operation OVER comes in. We connect with veterans to make sure they have the tools they need to find housing and meet their goals.
Meet the Team
Operation OVER is run by Guild staff Steve Reckner and Lily Anderson. The team will be working closely with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) and other organizations like the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) and the Hennepin County Veterans Service Office.
Operation OVER is able to take referrals through MDVA, and all referrals will be from the Homeless Veteran Registry. Anyone can start the process of getting a homeless, or soon to be homeless, veteran on the Registry through 1-888-LinkVet (546-5838). For the Registry’s purpose, a veteran is anybody who has served, for any length of time, Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve, and the type of discharge does not matter.