NVF on the Frontlines, Combating Veteran Homelessness in Los Angeles

Photo of NVF booth at Stand Down

NVF booth at Stand Down

The National Veterans Foundation (NVF) has been an integral part of the fight to get all homeless veterans off the streets in Los Angeles. Our Outreach Team has been working closely with the VA, City & County of Los Angeles as well as local service providers to address veteran homelessness.

Since 2007, Community Outreach Coordinator Apolonio “Apple” E. Muñoz III, CPSS has built a reputation of advocating for veterans throughout the Greater Los Angeles Region. Appointed to the Lived-Experience Advisory Board, working with the Senior Management and the Commission of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Apple uses his experiences of being an openly-gay formerly homeless veteran, as well as being a service-provider familiar with homeless programs throughout LA County. Response to the COVID-19 pandemic included Project Roomkey, a state-wide effort to place homeless individuals and families at risk of contracting COVID-19 into unused hotel/motel rooms. The program’s goal is to link participants with wrap-around services and exit no one back to the streets.

Since the start of the pandemic the NVF’s Outreach Team has been on the frontlines working with LAHSA and the VA. Our Homeless Outreach program allowed access to the county-wide HMIS database to streamline the NVF’s referral process to match homeless veterans with housing. Apple and Martha E. Varela, Women Veterans Outreach Coordinator, have helped place approximately 20 veterans into housing programs since gaining the access in July 2020. Many more referrals are pending.

The NVF’s Outreach Team’s mission is to eliminate barriers to services and resources. What sets the NVF’s approach apart from other providers is that our Outreach Team are veterans with similar lived-experiences, bringing a unique vet-to-vet approach, where veterans can speak to someone who understands and knows what doors to open to eliminate the systematic barriers homeless veterans face.

Photo of Christmas presents distributed to veteran families

Christmas presents distributed to veteran families

Shad Meshad

As a U.S. Army Medical Service Officer in Vietnam in 1970, Shad Meshad began pioneering treatment techniques for what would later become known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is the founder of the National Veterans Foundation and founder and co-author of the VA’s Vet Center Program.

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