Oneida County Veterans Service Officer Tammy Javenkoski is happy to see an addition to services she can offer the people she likes to refer to as “my veterans.”
Last week, at the most recent meeting of the Oneida County board’s social services committee, Debbie Meye, a representative for a federal program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families, made a presentation and expressed her intent to add Oneida County to the 10 northern Wisconsin counties she serves with the SSVF.
That number will go to 13 as in addition to Oneida County, Meye intends to start the program in Vilas and Iron counties as well.
Javenkoski said the program has never been in Oneida County.
“They help with homeless veterans and veterans who may be at risk to be homeless,” she said.
Meye is based out of Rusk County with the grant funded program.
“She (Meye) said every year, they seem to have money left over so they wanted to branch out and extend their services into other counties,” Javenkoski said.
Currently, the county has access to a state program called the Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program, or VORP.
Its regional director is Todd Marks.
“That program is also for the same thing, but they can’t do quite as much,” Javenkoski said. “Debbie and the SSVF is basically just another good resource for Todd.”
Meye said teaming up with Javenkoski and Marks with the VORP in Oneida County is precisely what she wants to do.
“If a veteran qualifies, we can offer help with things like rent, utility bills, security deposits, child care, moving costs, automobile repair,” she said. “We help homeless and low income veterans.”
If a veteran is able to work, Meye said she works with the CVSO to help that veteran find a job.
“Or a new skill set if they need that,” she said. “The SSVF, VORP and the county veterans service office work hand in hand to help veterans get back on their feet.”
Meye said the SSVF is a short term program.
“We usually try to have someone self-sufficient or in housing or finding some type of work within six months,” she said.
A safety net of sorts for those veterans and Meye said there are veterans in Oneida, Vilas and Iron counties who are looking for the type of help the SSVF program can provide.
“I have asked the federal grant program I’m with to extend funding for those counties,” Meye said. “I’m getting calls from veterans or other services in those counties asking if I’m able to help.”
“It’s another resource and that’s always good,” Javenkoski said. “This is not a good place to be homeless.”
For more information on the SSVF, contact Debbie Meye at the Indianhead Community Action Agency in Rusk County. Phone numbers there are 715-532-4222 or 715-416-1156.
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]