Volunteer to Help Reach Veterans in Need
Veteran Outreach Volunteer
Each week staff from homeless service providers and volunteers meet to review a by name list of veterans who are homeless. This group creates a housing plan for each veteran and assigns follow-up actions back to members of the group to complete necessary housing steps. Your role as a Veteran Outreach Volunteer is to help find and talk to veterans who are homeless and assist them through the beginning steps of the housing process. Outreach Volunteers are the front line for homeless veterans, but Chattanooga currently needs more Outreach capacity to achieve our goal of ending veteran homelessness.
Across the country, communities are ending homelessness among veterans by using a housing first philosophy and coordinating veterans through a focused housing placement system. Placing veterans into housing as quickly as possible upon identifying them as homeless has been shown to increase success rates at getting them reintegrated and back on their feet. Chattanooga as a community is committed to implementing these best practices and ending homelessness among veterans.
Successful Veteran Outreach Volunteers will decrease the amount of time it takes veterans to get into safe and permanent housing.
Interested in making a huge change in a veteran’s life? Here’s what to expect:
- Sign up using this form
- We’ll follow up to schedule a volunteer interview
- Fill out necessary paperwork
- Complete volunteer training
- House veterans!
We count on veterans to keep us safe from harm. In order to become an Outreach Volunteer you must commit back to each veteran you serve that you will follow through and help them through the housing process as quickly as you can. Remember - each day a veteran is on the street is a day they are at risk of serious harm or death.
Total time commitment per week = 10 hours to assist up to two homeless veterans
- attending a weekly housing meeting each Tuesday at 1:30-3:00 PM (1.5 hours per week)
- spending at least 5 hours per week finding and assisting homeless veterans through the housing process ( 5 - 8 hours per week)
- reporting to Homeless Program Coordinator and sending completed paperwork (1 hour per week)
- completing a one time 4 hour training session on outreach best practices
Weekly Duties and Responsibilities
- Receiving questions, directives of follow up needed for each veteran from the weekly housing group
- Reporting to weekly housing group which veterans volunteer will reach out to in upcoming week, and ensure that volunteer has all questions, paperwork, etc necessary
- Finding and talking to veterans, asking requested questions, noting answers clearly and carefully, helping veterans complete any requested paperwork
- Reporting back to weekly housing group promptly after veteran contact - through phone, email, or text message
- Sending paperwork back to weekly housing group as quickly as possible - either via scanning and emailing, faxing, or dropping it off at the security desk at City Hall
- Advocating for needs of the veteran to appropriate agency
Ready to get started?
Q: What time of day will I need to be available?
A: Outreach can happen at very flexible hours. Though we strongly recommend that you choose a regular time frame each week that you will work, so that veterans know when to expect you, and so we can work to ‘plug in’ outreach volunteers throughout the day.
Q: I can’t make the weekly housing group meetings, can I still volunteer?
A: Yes! It is possible to still perform volunteer outreach tasks without attending the weekly meetings. If you have internet access and can update the weekly housing group’s informational sheet, and if you can check in with the Homeless Program Coordinator briefly each week with clear and concise updates in regard to the work you’ve done, you should be able to do outreach work without attending the Tuesday meetings. However, these meetings are when we assign tasks to each worker, so missing these meetings would require clear communication both online and with the Homeless Program Coordinator.
Q: What are the physical demands of this work?
A: Outreach volunteer work will often require walking significant distances, walking up and down steep hills, and a certain amount of driving. However, once connection is made with veterans, it may be possible to meet with most of them in more accessible places like libraries and/or the Community Kitchen.
Q: What are the mental/emotional demands of this work?
A: This work can be emotionally taxing. You are likely to meet some amazing people with some hard barriers to overcome; anything from severe physical disabilities to active addiction issues. This work can come with many highs and lows and having a support system and a strong self care plan is necessary. Please reach out to the Homeless Program Coordinator with any concerns you might have about the demands of the work, at any point in your volunteering journey!
Q: I can’t commit to 10 hours a week but I still want to help
A: We are always happy to have the help of volunteers, and this can come in a variety of areas. One on-going need is to gather donated household items for recently housed veterans. If you have any community connections (church group, school group, etc) and would like to put on a small donation drive, please reach out to the Homeless Program Coordinator! Also, we always have a need for Peer Mentors, helpers to organize donated items, and persons to transport veterans to meetings and appointments. Please just call the Homeless Program Coordinator if you’d like to learn more about these other opportunities.
Have more questions? Contact Heather Hoffman, Homeless Program Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga. (423) 643-7301 or firstname.lastname@example.org