Homeward Bound of Marin partners with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to offer an array of services to homeless veterans in Marin County.
The entry point for Homeward Bound’s adult services and for veterans is the Mill Street Center in San Rafael. For information about this emergency shelter program, please call 415-457-9651.
At New Beginnings Center in Novato, a “second-step shelter” with 80 beds, Homeward Bound reserves 16 beds for veterans. In a typical year, 10 percent of homeless adults served by Homeward Bound of Marin are veterans. In the 2014-15 fiscal year, 142 veterans received services at Homeward Bound.
Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless can find help with a nationwide VA call center at 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838). Counselors are ready to talk to veterans at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255 – press 1 for veterans).
In Marin County, Veterans Service Officer Sean Stephens can help veterans connect with benefits at 415-473-6193. Michelle Funez Arteaga, a licensed clinical social worker, is the Marin County representative for a program known as HUD-VASH that links homeless veterans with housing options. Reach her at 415-382-3363 x238.
Additional information about homeless veterans is available at http://www.va.gov/homeless/
Hear from some of the veterans who have come through our doors:
Now settled in a Novato apartment, Farrell S. spent eight months with Homeward Bound after he became homeless in 2009.
He served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Alaska, Colorado, California and Germany before leaving the service in 1983.
“I was hungry when I joined, so they let me become a cook,” Farrell jokes. His cooking skills proved useful as he later found work in bakeries during winter and fishing boats during summer, but eventually the jobs got thinner and finally stopped.
“I lived on the sidewalk for awhile and then found out about Homeward Bound,” he says.
The structured environment, counseling and resources available at New Beginnings Center helped him move forward; he qualified for disability benefits and found a small apartment. “No more sidewalk for me,” he says.
A native of Larkspur, Michael P. began his four-year stint in the U.S. Navy just after his 1960 graduation from Redwood High School.
He lived many years in Fairfax while working as a housepainter, boat repairman and other jobs. As the economy began to spiral downward, he says, he found himself out of work, out of money and on the street.
His arrival at New Beginnings Center put him in touch with Michelle Funez Arteaga, the senior social worker for the federal homeless veterans assistance program known as HUD-VASH. It offers housing subsidies that help qualifying veterans find permanent housing.
Michael P. received a subsidy under the program and soon moved to a Mill Valley apartment, where he’s endeared himself to other senior residents by organizing weekly bingo games.
“I’m happy to be out of couch-surfing and motels,” Michael says.