7hills Homeless Center Extends Outreach to Veterans

By Veronica Torres

The Razorback Reporter

Veterans who served active military duty and need assistance in getting temporary housing can turn to 7hills Homeless Center in Fayetteville.

The 16-year-old non-profit organization has goals of “ending homelessness and poverty with education, opportunities and hope,” according to the website.

“The ultimate goal is to develop a continuum of services and housing programs that will allow us to assist all clients and families, no matter their individual challenges and life circumstances,” according to 7hillscenter.org.

Beyond that goal, 7hills staff work with veterans in Washington, Benton and Madison counties.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is aimed to promote housing among low-income and veteran families. The idea is to assist veterans and veterans’ families in transitioning to permanent housing, according to 7hillscenter.org.

SSVF offers short-term services for veterans, including case management, moving and storage costs maximum of three months, short-term rent assistance and/or arrears, short-term utility assistance and/or arrears, housing search assistance, security deposit once per two years, utility deposits once per three-year period, money management skills, job readiness assistance, childcare, community referrals, assistance obtaining public benefits and emergency supplies, according to 7hillscenter.org.

Seven Hills services are different for each individual.

“Homelessness is a really unique situation,” said Steven Mills, chief operating officer for the 7hills Homeless Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. “Most of the homeless individuals don’t want to be homeless.”

There are eligibility requirements for the SSVF program. They must be from a veteran household, either being a veteran or a household where the head of household, or the spouse of the head of household, is a veteran. The veteran must have served in active military, naval, or air force and was discharged or released under non-dishonorable conditions. They must have very low-income meaning it would not exceed 50 percent of area median pre-tax income. And they must occupy permanent housing, meaning they are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing permanent housing, but not SSVF assistance, according to 7hillscenter.org.

“I wouldn’t say there is a high volume of students coming through,” Mills said in an interview.

“Of the homeless population 37 percent are veterans in northwest Arkansas,” according to 7hillscenter.org.

“One of the No. 1 reasons for someone becoming homeless is because just a lack of a support system,” Mills said.

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