U.S. VETS’ staff and volunteers have been working for the past 20 years to provide housing and other services for veterans throughout Greater Prescott. Now, the nonprofit has opened a new location with classes, counseling and camaraderie for anyone who has served in the military.
“We want people to feel like they can come in and talk openly about what their needs are,” said Valerie Crossman, Director of Behavioral Health. “So the Veterans Connection Hub will offer information and resources so veterans can learn about education benefits, financial benefits, and we have a variety of classes we will be offering.”
She added, “It’ll be a way veterans can get connected and integrated into the community and the resources that are already here, so we’ll have a strong team that will be connecting with other providers to bring those tools to the Connection Hub so we can share that with veterans who need those services.”
The center opened this fall inside the former APS building at 120 N. Marina St. in downtown Prescott and offers activities as simple as game groups for some friendly competition, “lunch and learns,” where speakers share information and resources, and a monthly Veterans and Donuts social.
Presentations and classes offer methods for coping with stress like meditation; financial benefits like VA home loans; and practical tools like workforce resources.
Case workers within the hub can assess veterans who come in seeking assistance and refer them to medical and mental health services, including alternative treatments such as acupuncture and neurofeedback, which aren’t covered by some insurance plans.
U.S. VETS is primarily focused on providing housing and supportive services to veterans and provides services in 12 cities mostly located in California and the Southwest, including Prescott and Phoenix.
In Prescott, it provides temporary and permanent housing for 130 veterans at its Liberty Pointe campus and plans to expand its offerings for low-income elderly veterans on the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System campus.
The Hub was funded by a suicide prevention grant from the VA intended to increase the agency’s outreach to all veterans, including those who aren’t enrolled in its medical system. Veterans who go there don’t need to participate in other U.S. VETS programs or the suicide prevention programs available.
Crossman said, “I think overall, our main goal is to really work on relieving stress and anxiety and that can be associated with being able to connect with fellow veterans. Connection is a big piece of what can prevent suicidal behavior and veterans knowing they have access to resources and supports.
“So we hope to provide a space, it’s even in the name, Veteran Connection HUB, where veterans can feel connected, and if they need that higher level of service like case management or developing a safety plan, we have access to that as well.”
For more information on U.S. VETS, including how to donate, visit usvets.org/locations/prescott. For information on events and classes at the Veterans Connection Hub see www.facebook.com/usvetsprescott. For additional information call Outreach Coordinator Andy Calin at 928.978.1922 or Crisis Prevention Counselor Tina Boden-Blake at 928.830.2283.