THLP serves people with a wide range of significant disabilities. We promote and practice equal access of individuals with limited access to services, programs, resources, and facilities. THLP works to increase the availability and improve the quality of community options for independent living. The program outreaches to individuals who are unserved and underserved,
which includes releases/parolees, substance abuse clients, and the homeless. It is determined since we provide programs and activities for these individuals that we are capable of providing assistance to the homeless veteran’s population.
The Houston Launch Pad, the applicant for the U. S. Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, Urban and Non-Urban Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP), was created in 1998 to improve the long term employment opportunities and the overall quality of services provided to veterans, their dependents and dependents of deceased veterans. The organization has focused on providing comprehensive services to veterans and their dependents, with a special emphasis on preparing veterans for productive employment.
The urgency of bringing this program into service is multifaceted. The obvious aspect is that veterans make up nine percent (9%) of the U.S. population but twenty-three (23%) percent of the homeless population. Among homeless men, veterans make up thirty-three (33%) percent of the population. This translates to about 300,000 veterans experiencing homelessness on any given night and about 500,000 veterans experiencing homelessness at some point during the year. Those numbers are rising daily. Add to this the return of many veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and the prospect of exacerbating the problems is unquestioned.
Clearly, there is a need for actions to address this problem. Providing the basic need of a place to sleep is a small first step in addressing the immediate need. Providing for the basic nutritional sustenance is a fundamental requirement. Providing employment training is a key step in the process of meeting the homeless veteran’s needs. These are just elementary steps. Failure to take these steps, however, creates a nightmare scenario where men and women who took the ultimate risk are doomed to the life of a nomad in their own land.
This project has a long term goal of ending chronic homeless among veterans. It is a daunting challenge but one that must be faced. The key is to provide a continuum of services to homeless veterans that enables self sufficiency and self determination. This begins with an early intervention with those leaving military service. There must be an assessment and subsequent tracking of those leaving the military to provide for awareness of potential problems. Through collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs, we will enhance our current “One Stop” services to provide immediate intake for departing veterans. This will enable The Houston Launch Pad to provide first response and referral for those who are in need.
The ideal outcome of this project is an end to veteran homelessness. That is not, however, a realistic outcome. Realistically, we hope to see an incremental decrease in the numbers of veterans suffering from this problem. If we can raise the level of sensitivity and resources, we can create the continuum that will result in a community that cares much more about those who have made our lives so much safer.
Approach or strategy to increase Employment and Job Retention
As part of their self-sufficiency planning, participants in this program will work with experienced Houston Launch Pad staff to develop and achieve planned short and long-term goals. These goals will be determined by the specific circumstances of each participant. The Houston Launch Pad’s permanent housing goals and objectives are directly intermingled with the goals and objectives for self-sufficiency. However, we have used the broad objectives prioritized by DOL as starting points from which to develop our participants’ self-sufficiency plans. Those broad objectives include:.
• Increasing skills and/or income: We will aspire to achieve both objectives through personal financial planning, budget education and counseling, and by providing job training resources for increasing participants’ marketable vocational skills.
• Acquiring permanent housing: Our participants will have access to a number of housing strategies that are all designed to guide participants through the steps that will result in permanent housing and beyond.
• Achieving greater self- determination: Each of our proven steps toward self-sufficiency are consistent with this objective. As the steps are achieved, self-confidence is enhanced. Self-determination becomes a by-product of achieving each of the goals set forth in a self-sufficiency plan.
What The Houston Launch Pad Provides to the Veterans who enroll in the HVRP Program
The Houston Launch Pad provides Job Quest Training that is a complex of services that prepares clients for job search and equips them with the necessary skills that will ensure a successful job interview.
Our training programs include:
• Job Application Training – assist and train clients in skills necessary to accurately complete a job application.
• Interviewing Skills Training –reinforces essential skills and teaches new skills necessary for conducting a successful job interview. This also includes a mock interview.
• Job Seeking Skills Training –designed to assist the client in development of those skills necessary to conduct a job search.
• Resume Development – service designed to assist the client in developing a completed resume.
• Job Coaching – on the site job training for clients needing assistance in adjusting to employment and instruction in learning the skills necessary to perform a job competently.
THLPserves homeless veterans and substance abuse clients in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.