For more than three years, the Vets on Track Foundation has been furnishing homes for veterans, first responders and their families who have transitioned into permanent housing from living on the streets. While our efforts have kept most from returning to the streets – we’ve learned that furnishing homes isn’t enough. For many, having a home brings on new challenges that they weren’t ready to face.
The mission of the Vets on Track Foundation’s “Beyond the Streets” Program, is to re-educate those we serve about the basics of self-sufficient living. During the course of three months, our volunteers follow up with each of our clients several times to ensure they are developing the necessary life skills to maintain their personal hygiene, their homes and social skills needed to reenter their communities as productive citizens.
When needed, our volunteers actually spend time to re-teach many of life’s basics - cleaning a house, taking a shower or going to buy groceries. While on the street it could be as simple as having food and a place to lay your head at night.
Life skills are the skills that many people take for granted, like personal hygiene, managing money, shopping, cooking, running a home and maintaining social networks. They are essential for living independently. Many veterans who have experienced homelessness, especially chronic homelessness, lack these skills either because they never acquired them or because they lost them through extended periods of homelessness. Helping those experiencing homelessness acquire life skills can help them move on from homelessness and resettle into the community. Life skills training is different from support, help or assistance in that the aim is to promote self-sufficiency.