United Veterans Beacon House
Beacon House Locations /
A PROJECT OF THE VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM WAR,
The homeless veteran problem in the
United States is becoming more and more prevalent due to an
increasing national socio-economic crisis, a combined draw-down in
our nations uniformed services, the "dumping" of psychiatric
patients onto our nations streets as well as a host of other
The Veterans of Vietnam War, Inc., in
response to the homeless veteran problem, has embarked upon a
comprehensive project designed to assist the homeless veteran. This
project has been designated by the VVnW as the United Veterans
Beacon House Project (UVBH). The United Veterans Beacon Houses are
designed to offer a safe drug/alcohol free haven, direct the veteran
to a multitude of support agencies offering assistance, and provide
the veteran with decent shelter while the veteran rebuilds a life.
The concept of the UVBH is to provide
housing for the veteran to allow the veteran to restructure and
rebuild his life (note: for the sake of clarity and readability,
when referring to a veteran, the pronoun "his" is used. However, in
actuality, UVBH's are non-sexist and veterans of either gender are
accommodated). The veteran is allowed to stay in a UVBH for a period
of six months to two years. Studies have shown that with this length
of stay, the veteran has the ability to begin a new working career,
change jobs as upward mobility dictates and amass the financial
resources to become self-sufficient.
During the veteran's stay at a UVBH, a
full range of services are provided including drug and alcohol
counseling, PTSD counseling, other psychological and family
counseling, life skills training, full employment counseling and a
wide range of medical services.
Each UVBH networks with existing
community services and the Department of Veterans Affairs resources
to insure against a duplication of services.
Currently, the VVnW has one United
Veterans Beacon House in Akron, Pennsylvania, and is associated with
a United Veterans Beacon House Project in Long Island, New York that
encompasses fourteen houses. These Houses provide housing to
over 118 veterans per day on any given day.
CONCEPTS AND REQUIREMENTS
Each UVBH will provide the veteran safe,
drug and alcohol free housing for a period of not less than six
months nor more than two years.
The veteran must take an active part in
his/her rehabilitation by participating in appropriate social
services including appropriate psychological counseling, employment
counseling, family counseling, drug and alcohol counseling and any
other counseling assigned by his/her counselor.
The veteran will participate in the
upkeep and maintenance of the physical building as well as the
continued care of his/her personal property and area.
Each United Veterans Beacon House will
meet certain minimum requirements before receiving full or partial
funding from the VVnW. These requirements are divided into two
categories: 1. the physical building and, 2.
the social work plan.
The Physical Building:
Each United Veterans Beacon House will
be either an existing structure modified as a shelter or new
construction specifically designed as a shelter. In either case, the
minimal suggested criteria to secure VVnW funding is the same:
1. A minimum of eight (8) beds - no more than two (2)
beds per room or a dormitory- style room containing no more than
four (4) beds or a combination of double rooms and dormitory
2. A minimum of one apartment consisting of two (2)
bedrooms and a bath for one family.
3. A minimum of 2 and 1/2 baths for those not
sheltered in the apartment. 4. A minimum of one room set aside
for group counseling.
5. A minimum of one room set aside for individual
6. A common kitchen to prepare group meals.
7. A common dining room.
8. A group room other than the counseling room for
living space, TV, etc.
9. A room designated as office space for
administration of the program.
10. Adequate parking for administrative personnel and
11. All local building codes and all zoning ordinances
must be observed.
12. Appropriate furnishings or access to the same must
be provided and include all cooking utensils, refrigerators,
The Social Work Plan:
To secure funding from the VVnW, the
United Veterans Beacon House must provide the following services:
Counseling services must be contracted for from the local DVA or
private provider for counseling to: Provide drug and alcohol
counseling by a designated DVA provider or a private Certified
Addiction Counselor (CAC).
- Provide PTSD counseling by a
designated DVA provider or a private therapist - preferably a
Certified Trauma Counselor (CTC).
- Provide Family Counseling by
a designated DVA provider or private counselor (or have the
access to such service when the family apartment is being
- Provide psychological
counseling for non-service related problems by a designated DVA
provider or private counselor.
- Provide employment counseling
from DVA sources or the local Job Service Office.
2. Medical services must be contracted for
from the local DVA or a private provider to assure adequate medical
treatment for all veterans and their families.
3. Living skills education must be provided either by a
local VVnW post or by a local contractor.
The Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. is
committed to continuing and expanding our United Veterans Beacon
House Project. We intend to pursue this expansion through corporate
contributions, government grants and programs and through our own
Our final goal is to have UVBHs across
the country. We know that we alone cannot eradicate homelessness
among the veteran population. However, we will make a difference.
United Veteran Beacon House
P.O. Box 8194
Lancaster, PA 17604
Business phone: 717-859-4577
UVBH (Bay Shore, New York)United Veterans Beacon House
59 North Clinton Ave
Bay Shore, NY 11706
you would like to make a donation to Beacon House, please mail it to the
following address. Thank you!
of the Vietnam War, Inc.
805 South Township Blvd.
Pittston, PA 18640
is an estimated 300,000 veterans who are Homeless on any given night and
that number experience homelessness over the course of a year.
of the homeless have served in the United States Military.
homeless veterans are male and account for at least 60% of the nation's
than 90% of the homeless veterans are high school graduates, a third have
collage education. Most are unemployed, but nearly all have worked in the
single largest segment of homeless veterans, approximately 58%, is from
Era. 3% from WWII, 14% Korean War, and 25% from the Post Vietnam
including Desert Storm.
quarter of homeless veterans from the Vietnam Era have full or partial
flashbacks, anxiety, emotional numbing, depression of the war related
illness called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
with PTSD are more likely to be unemployed than those without it and up to
times likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
than half of the homeless veterans have a drug or alcohol abuse problem
have started or worsened during the military service.
and 2/3 of homeless veterans have had at least one failed
strained or broken by the weight of their problems.
are homeless for many reasons that anyone can be: poor job market, steep
costs. Slashed social programs, and military downsizing. The lack of
housing, specifically efficiency apartments and rooming houses, is a
most effective programs for homeless veterans are community based,
helping groups. There are approximately 160 nonprofit community based
organizations across the country which demonstrates impressive success
the veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. have established a Beacon House to
veterans and it is our goal to have or to assist one in every State across
We can ensure that homeless veterans will have a second chance on life
keep homelessness to a minimum.