Patty in the News

A Vancouver nonprofit organization has been awarded $173,280 to help homeless veterans with children.

Pam Brokaw, executive director of Partners in Careers, said the grant will help the organization move forward on a couple of initiatives. It started the Veteran Women Program in December, and the agency will be using the grant money to move ahead on Homeward Bound, a program to assist men and women who have served in the military.

FOR INFORMATION

• Veterans looking for more information on the Homeward Bound program can call Emily Stoutsenberger or Pam Brokaw at 360-696-8417.

“This focuses on reaching out to homeless veterans and their families,” Brokaw said. “The first step is finding and talking with them; then, assisting them in critical areas like housing, child care, access to basic services and help with employment.”

Brokaw said they’re finding the veterans by “getting the word out through different media opportunities, Veterans Affairs, local veterans organizations. We’re going out into the community and being visible. This is a good time, with the fair and different community activities happening.

“This grant has dollars to subsidize employment. Veterans in the Homeward Bound program will assist us with outreach and will be employed doing that,” Brokaw said. “That’s a very significant piece.”

Program coordinator Emily Stoutsenberger is a U.S. Navy veteran.

“This is all about vets helping vets,” Stoutsenberger said.

Partners in Careers has been looking at unmet community needs and underserved groups, and that led to the Veteran Women Program in December.

“We looked at veterans, with so many of them coming home, and realized there was not a job program for women vets,” Brokaw said. “Then we looked at other needs — the growing issue of homeless veterans with children — and applied for the grant.”

The grant was announced by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, through its Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.

“I am so glad that Partners in Careers will be receiving this federal investment to help local homeless veterans get the support they need to stay off the streets and get their lives back on track,” Murray said in the announcement.

Brokaw said the effort will include state partners, including Washington’s welfare-to-work WorkFirst program and WorkSource centers that offer employment and training services. Local partners include the city of Vancouver, the Vancouver Housing Authority and Educational Service District 112, the child care partner.

Partners in Careers also will reach out to local businesses to make employment placement for homeless veterans a priority.

The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are more than 200 homeless veterans with families in Southwest Washington, Brokaw said.

“We think it’s probably more,” Brokaw said. “One thing we learned with the Veteran Women Program, they don’t tend to identify themselves as veterans.”

Now, “We are seeing more women call us,” Brokaw said, and there is another reason they expect to see even more veterans.

“A lot of troops are starting to come home and we anticipate an increase in people calling about our program.”