Veterans Bridge Home (VBH) has been serving veteran families in the Charlotte region since 2011. VBH started as a passionate idea: that every family exiting the military had earned the opportunity to become a strong and sustainable member of their new home. This idea developed into a unique, data-informed set of programs – and now a nationally recognized model for how to integrate military families into the fabric of our communities. VBH recognizes that returning veterans have multiple needs, and they are less likely to be successful in civilian life unless they are addressed holistically.
Each member of our staff and board has a direct connection to military service. As veterans, spouses and family members, we know the challenges of reinventing your professional identity and social network and the difficulty of finding access to services. This understanding of the veteran experience is what sets VBH apart: we know every veteran and spouse is an asset and can contribute a lasting impact to our community.
Over the last 12 months, our resource network has served 1,382 unique military families and provided or connected them to 3,482 services. We’ve held five hiring events, with our annual 9/11 veteran hiring event drawing 260 job seekers, 73 employers and 16 VSO’s, with 365 formal interviews conducted – and 230 follow-up interviews scheduled.
Additionally, we’ve hosted more than 250 social events with over 4,000 attendees over this time span.
Veterans overwhelmingly cite navigation and access to services, employment and social capital as their principal challenges. We address this by focusing on five strategic program areas: by providing a resource network, help with employment, monthly events to build social capital, direct housing aid and mental health support.
What Would You Do with $5,000 and a Day of Service?
Our day would include volunteers supporting the 2020 Mecklenburg County Point in Time Count. This is when our community surveys and counts those experiencing homelessness in one night. Counting is critical to understanding the local scope of veteran homelessness. The $5,000 would be used toward program costs for our resource network.