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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Homeless Veterans

Annual Stand Downs are opportunities for homeless Veterans to access a broad spectrum of services at one convenient location and to create a plan for re-entry into mainstream society. The event brings a wide range of specialized resources together to provide homeless Veterans with comprehensive medical and psychosocial services.

Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) Program
The DCHV Program provides medical care and rehabilitation services in a residential and therapeutic setting to eligible ambulatory Veterans challenged by medical conditions, psychiatric disorders, or physical injuries who do not need hospitalization or nursing home care. The mission is to provide an opportunity for motivated, at-risk Veterans to achieve his/her optimal level of functioning and return to independent community living. This short-term residential rehabilitation program allows Veterans to learn skills needed to live in the community and avoid a return to homelessness. Residents in the DCHV Program participate in a full range of rehabilitation services in a recovery model of care. Services include comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessments; “bio-psycho-social” treatments that include medications, psychotherapies for problems like addiction, depression, and anxiety, and social interventions such as vocational and occupational therapies; and opportunities to enhance one’s spirituality. The facility does not provide shelter-type housing; Veterans must be willing to participate in treatment activities while they are living there.

Supported Employment Program
The Supported Employment Program is designed to help disabled Veterans find and maintain competitive employment. This new model for vocational rehabilitation avoids lengthy pre-vocational assessments and shelter-type work experiences in favor of directly placing and supporting Veterans in community-based jobs tailored to individual preferences, needs, and strengths. Veterans are assigned to an employment specialist who can dedicate a significant amount of one-on-one time in the pursuit of employment, even if the Veteran prefers only a few hours of work per week, and in supporting the worker indefinitely after the hire.

Consult and Special Evaluation (CASE) Program
The CASE Program provides drop-in mental health evaluation in the Psychiatric Evaluation and Admission Clinic (PEAC); Behavioral Medicine services and Telemedicine with VA outpatient clinics. CASE also performs Compensation & Pension Exams for the VA Regional Office and Neuropsychological Testing.

Comprehensive Mental Health Program (CMHP)
CMHP provides comprehensive treatment to Veterans with serious and persistent mental illness. This program treats patients with a variety of diagnoses, which include, but are not limited to psychotic disorders, mood disorders, and behavioral problems associated with dementia disorders. Family involvement is strongly encouraged since symptoms of these illnesses greatly influence family life. CMHP is a flexible program that allows Veterans to enter the part of the program best designed to serve their individual needs.

Trauma Recovery Program (TRP)
TRP offers comprehensive treatment to Veterans with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a related disorder. This program provides a wide range of services to help Veterans better manage their symptoms. TRP uses a team approach because bringing together professionals from psychiatry, nursing, social work, psychology, and other disciplines allows the program to better assess, plan for, and treat Veterans seeking assistance.

Substance Dependence & Vocational Rehabilitation Program (SDVR)
SDVR is comprised of the Substance Dependence Rehabilitation Section (SDRS) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Section (VRS). SDRS assists Veterans recovery from drug and alcohol dependence through comprehensive treatment which may include detoxification, case management, addiction education, relapse prevention skill training, support groups, social work services, health screening, referrals for medical care and/or vocational rehabilitation, psychiatric assessment and care, grief, sober seniors, women’s support groups, and certificates of successful completion. Levels of care include partial hospitalization, day and night-time schedules for low intensity and aftercare, and alumni groups. VRS is committed to assisting Veterans with psychiatric or physical disabilities reach their highest level of vocational productivity. The program helps Veterans referred by their Mental Health Care Line or rehabilitation team by providing vocational counseling, work therapy, job readiness training, job search, referrals to community resources, and the Houston VA Regional Office.

Services for Women Veterans
All VA Homeless programs serve women Veterans as well as men. In addition, our facility provides special mental health services for women including a Women’s Therapy Group and a Women’s Behavioral Health Liaison within the MEDVAMC Women’s Center that provides psychiatric evaluation and treatment. The Women Veterans Coordinators at the Veterans Outreach Centers also offer a Sexual Trauma Counseling Program (aided by the Trauma Recovery Program) and individual, group, and family counseling.

VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans

If you are a Veteran who has lost your home, VA can help you get back on your feet. Contact VA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) to speak to a trained VA responder. The hotline and online chat are free and neither VA registration nor enrollment in VA healthcare is required to use either service.

When you call or join the online chat:

  • You will be connected to a trained VA responder. 
  • The responder will ask a few questions to assess your needs.
  • If you’re a Veteran, you may be connected with the Homeless Program point of contact at the nearest VA facility.
  • Contact information will be requested so staff may follow up.

VA offers these services, all available via 1-877-4AID-VET, to homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of homelessness and their families:

Opportunities to return to employment

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VA’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is comprised of three unique programs which assist homeless Veterans in returning to competitive employment: Sheltered Workshop, Transitional Work, and Supported Employment. Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher.

The Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP) provides vocational assistance, job development and placement, and ongoing supports to improve employment outcomes among homeless Veterans and Veterans at-risk of homelessness. Formerly homeless Veterans who have been trained as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRSs) provide these services.

Safe Housing

The Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program provides grants and per diem payments (as funding is available) to help public and nonprofit organizations establish and operate supportive housing and service centers for homeless Veterans. Learn more about the Grant Per Diem Program

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HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) Program is a joint effort between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA. HUD allocated nearly 38,000 "Housing Choice" Section 8 vouchers across the country. These vouchers allow Veterans and their families to live in market rate rental units while VA provides case management services. A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord on behalf of the participating Veteran. The Veteran then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Learn more about the HUD-VASH Program.

The Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers Program makes all VA foreclosed properties available for sale to homeless provider organizations-at a 20 to 50 percent discount-to shelter homeless Veterans.

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program provides grants and technical assistance to community-based, nonprofit organizations to help Veterans and their families stay in their homes. Learn more about the SSVF program.

Health care

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VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program offers outreach, exams, treatment, referrals, and case management to Veterans who are homeless and dealing with mental health issues, including substance use. At more than 135 HCHV sites, trained, caring VA specialists provide tools and support necessary for Veterans to get their lives on a better track. Call VA’s toll-free hotline or visit the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program page.

VA’s Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs) Program provides a coordinated "medical home" specifically tailored to the needs of homeless Veterans that integrates clinical care with delivery of social services with enhanced access and community coordination. Implementation of this model is expected to address many of the health disparity and equity issues facing this population and result in reduced emergency department use and hospitalizations, improved chronic disease management, improved "housing readiness" with fewer Veterans returning to homelessness once housed. Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (H-PACTs) Program

VA’s Homeless Veterans Dental Program provides dental treatment for eligible Veterans in a number of programs: Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation Treatment, VA Grant and Per Diem, Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (contract bed), and Community Residential Care. VA is working to expand dental care to all eligible Veterans within this program. Homeless Veterans Dental Program

Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local Education and Networking Groups) brings together providers, advocates, and other concerned citizens to identify the needs of homeless Veterans and work to meet those needs through planning and cooperative action. This process has helped build thousands of relationships between VA and community agencies so that together they can better serve homeless Veterans. For more information on Project CHALENG, call VA’s toll-free hotline or visit the Project CHALENG web page.

Mental health services

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Veteran Justice Outreach provides eligible, justice-involved Veterans with timely access to VA’s mental health and substance use services when clinically indicated, and other VA services and benefits as appropriate.

VA’s Substance Use Disorder Treatment Enhancement Initiative provides substance use services in the community to aid homeless Veterans' recovery.

The Health Care for Re-Entry Veterans Program helps incarcerated Veterans successfully rejoin the community through supports including those addressing mental health and substance use problems.

The Readjustment Counseling Service’s Vet Center Programs feature community-based locations and outreach activities that help to identify homeless Veterans and match homeless Veterans with necessary services.


Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV)

Hotline for Homeless Veterans
1-877-4AID VET or 1-877-424-3838

McGovern Drop-In Center for Homeless Veterans
1418 Preston Avenue, Houston, TX 77002

OEF/OIF Support Team

VA Network Telecare Center (Nurse Hotline)
Toll-free 1-800-639-5137
24-hour, 7-day-a-week


Get Help

get help now - Dial 1-877-4AID-VET Chat Now