‘This is their community’: Heroes Landing in Santa Ana gives veterans a home base

At Santa Ana’s Heroes Landing, Orange County’s largest long term supportive housing local community exclusively for veterans, a potent group is forming.

The 75 condominium homes, previously known as Santa Ana’s Veteran’s Village, opened in July 2020 with the goal of making “a sanctuary of stability and a hub of hope” in collaboration with the Jamboree Housing Corp., the town of Santa Ana and other veteran-targeted organizations.

“It is a sanctuary for homeless veterans. It is a put where by every component of the style and design experienced the veteran in intellect,” explained Richard Owens, senior application manager for Jamboree Housing Corp. and a veteran himself.

Richard Owens, Jamboree Housing Corp.’s senior system supervisor of supportive solutions, provides a support recognition award to a single of five onsite solutions associates in the Heroes Landing Group Collaborative.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

Owens served a full of 17 a long time and was deployed four instances, performing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I did 8 a long time of lively responsibility in the Maritime Corps, and I did nine several years in the Army Reserve.”

Like quite a few Orange County veterans, Owens is aware firsthand the struggles that can plague a solider transitioning back again into civilian existence.

“Even with the aid in area, it continue to took me 11 decades, to hook up the dots,” claimed Owens. “Because I still battle. Even acquiring support in put, I nevertheless struggled a whole lot with changeover.”

Owens stayed with household right after energetic duty and was in a position to uncover work as a trainer, but a review set out in 2016 by USC’s School of Social Work known as “The Point out of the American Veteran” impressed him to modify training course.

“When I noticed that, I felt known as to do the job with homeless veterans,” Owens claimed. “I was like, ‘I am veteran I have had my possess problems,’ and this was when I was beginning connect my dots and see my dots … I preferred to give back to the neighborhood, I needed to aid my fellow brothers and sisters to get again on their ft.”

He remaining instructing and began on a path that led him to Heroes Landing Group Collaborative, generating it doable for O.C. veterans to obtain permanent houses.

Two formerly homeless veterans walk in the hallway at Jamboree's Heroes Landing in Santa Ana.

Two previously homeless veterans walk in the hallway at Jamboree’s Heroes Landing in Santa Ana.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

Established in 1990, Jamboree Housing Corp. is a nonprofit that started off with a $1-million federal grant awarded to support in the advancement of a to start with-time homebuyers’ application in Irvine. The target was to develop more housing options for lower-income households and seniors. Heroes Landing is Jamboree’s first home solely for veterans.

Besides giving permanent housing, Heroes Landing also gives onsite supportive solutions.

“Working and speaking to veteran assistance suppliers, we saw that it is not one particular issue that veterans need to have, there are various difficulties and limitations that people today deal with when they are coming out of homelessness and they become housed,” claimed Owens. “We wished to generate a expert services collaborative that addressed a number of difficulties. In purchase to do that we have five providers furnished on internet site.”

A recent job fair, hosted at Heroes Landing by Jamboree and its Community Collaborative service partners.

A current career truthful, hosted at Heroes Landing by Jamboree and its Group Collaborative service associates, connected veterans with employment methods and other veteran-certain or veteran-friendly alternatives.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

VA Long Seaside Healthcare Procedure, Goodwill of Orange County’s Tierney Heart for Veterans Solutions, Veterans Authorized Institute, Strength in Help and Phase Up all have offices open and available to citizens at Heroes Landing.

“Every unit at Heroes Landing is a element of the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing, or VASH,” mentioned Owens. “That usually means that each and every veteran in this article has a social worker assigned to them, and they function by means of a sequence of distinct targets.”

Toughness in Aid presents unique and group counseling outside of the Veterans Administration, which Owens notes is important since of the aversion some vets have to performing with the VA.

A formerly homeless veteran moves into his new apartment at Jamboree's Heroes Landing in Santa Ana.

A previously homeless veteran moves into his new condominium at Jamboree’s Heroes Landing in Santa Ana.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

“Some Veterans have a stigma to the VA, both they do not belief the VA or they are just not at ease sharing with the VA,” mentioned Owens. “Strength in Support is there and they are ready to meet those people behavioral mental health requirements that veterans have without acquiring to go to the VA … Their emotions in the direction of the VA would not be a barrier to them acquiring the support they want.”

The Tierney Center for Veterans Expert services operated by Goodwill Orange County aids with education and work added benefits.

“They will enable vets get resumes ready, assist with task queries, assist with obtaining connected to VA training gains and enrolling in school,” explained Owens.

The Veterans Legal Institute provides pro-bono lawful providers for veterans, serving to with pending authorized concerns the unhoused can encounter, like evictions or tickets issued to those living on the streets.

“The major factor, primarily for our veterans, is discharge updates,” Owens stated. “The Veterans Legal Institute will function with veterans to get their discharge upgraded to one more amount, particularly if they had some thing other than honorable discharge.”

Move Up assists with neighborhood functions, building confident people feel at residence and a part of the neighborhood.

“Step Up aids with day by day living expertise, and they place on various classes … cooking classes, diet courses, they help coordinate yoga, and all these things that assist the top quality of daily life and make the working day to day greater,” Owens mentioned.

When COVID-19 threatened their group final 12 months, Owens mentioned the VA Extended Seashore Healthcare Technique stepped in.

Holiday activities like pumpkin carving create a sense of camaraderie among the veterans living at Jamboree's Heroes Landing.

Holiday getaway activities like pumpkin carving are meant to create a feeling of camaraderie among the the veterans dwelling at Jamboree’s Heroes Landing.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

“We had nurses come on site and they hosted COVID-19 tests and COVID-19 vaccine clinics,” stated Owens. “They are not just bringing the social staff, but they get numerous things of the Veterans Affairs Hospital in this article at Heroes Landing. Instead of the veterans acquiring to go to the hospital, they are bringing it to them.”

The collaborative atmosphere was specifically handy when the pandemic hit, Owens said. “We have had much less than 10 active COVID situations onsite.”

With just about every circumstance, the individual quarantined and was sent meals and water and all the support they essential to get better.

“We would do every day checks by cellphone or by knocking on their door, to interact with them, to preserve them engaged, to allow them know we are here and we care about them,” claimed Owens.

The neighborhood garden club also aided maintain morale strong.

“One of our most significant successes around the last 12 months has been our backyard garden club, and it seriously assisted throughout COVID for the reason that it provided an prospect for folks to get outside, to safely and securely socially interact with their neighbors,” mentioned Owens. “It gave men and women a reason.”

Residents signed up for employment like watering, weeding and pruning. Heroes Landing lately hosted a barbecue in which inhabitants obtained to dine on some of the veggies they have grown.

Santa Ana police at  Jamboree's Heroes Landing for Heroes Landing for National Night Out.

Santa Ana law enforcement joined onsite house administration associates and Jamboree’s Heroes Landing onsite services team at Heroes Landing for National Night Out, an annual community-setting up campaign across the nation that promotes police-local community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

“All the side, all the greens were locally grown matters from our back garden and the backyard garden club was definitely fired up to present that to the group.”

Owens claimed the sense of neighborhood created by the inhabitants and solutions is what would make Heroes Landing productive.

“Again it goes back to the truth that we all collaborate, we all get the job done collectively to get the messaging out on the importance of security and having care of group,” explained Owens. “And I consider that is the key point there. Veterans really see that this is their community, it as a location that they can contact home and they get a whole lot of pride in that.”

Senior Program Manager of Supportive Services and veteran Richard Owens at Heroes Landing.

Senior Program Supervisor of Supportive Services and veteran Richard Owens at Heroes Landing. When Richard was on active duty in 2020, Jamboree held his personnel posture so that he could return to function soon after his deployment.

(Courtesy of Jamboree Housing Corp.)

The expert services onsite at Heroes Landing are not just open up to residents but any Orange County Veterans. Additional info about their housing chances and providers can be found at the Heroes Landing webpage. Jamboree Housing Corp. is at present acquiring a 2nd long-lasting supportive housing home in Santa Ana, North Harbor Village, for formerly homeless veterans and all those with special wants.

Owens reported Heroes Landing can be the initially phase to key adjust.

“This is one particular aspect of ending veteran homelessness in Orange County,” reported Owens. “Our hope is that other vendors and developers will see how prosperous this is and build a new design on how we are providing solutions, not just to our homeless veterans but to all of our homeless population in general.”

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