When soldiers return home, the transition to civilian life can feel quite mundane and even out of place. Throughout their military career, they were often faced with extended and multiple deployments. They often lived in intense and fast paced environments that are much different from their home. Some even return with invisible battle wounds such as struggles with mental and emotional well being. The Dream Center acknowledges this and we believe with their skill, perseverance, and support of the community, the transition to civilian life can be eased.
Veterans make up about 6% of our population, yet they also make up 8% of our country’s homeless population. In fact, veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless in comparison to the average American. There are several factors that contribute to this reality, ranging from lack of support, unemployment, lack of access to programs, and the housing crisis.
These are just a few factors that contribute to the challenges veterans face. One’s health can deteriorate when experiencing financial and emotional decline. The stress of finding a job and searching for a sense of belonging are heavy burdens to carry. It is clear that the challenges of veteran unemployment pose a serious risk to their overall well-being.
A common misconception is that veterans lack the skills for civilian life. This is far from the truth. An article in the LA Times provides insight into this issue. Lisa Rosser, a veteran who runs Value of a Veteran, stated that “Many veterans didn’t translate their military experience into civilian language even though 81% of military jobs have a close civilian equivalent.”
How To Help
The fact is the skills and experience veterans have are immeasurable and bring a lot to the table. All they need are the opportunities and a helping hand.
Programs that are aimed at easing the transition to civilian life make the ultimate difference. The Dream Center Veterans Program is a year-long residential program aimed to help veterans with the spiritual and foundational skills that are necessary to transition back into civilian life. We aid in employment resources and continuing education along with strengthening their invaluable skills. “There is no substitute for what jobs offer in the way of structure, support and meaning,” says Peter D. Kramer, a clinical professor of psychiatry.
Many veterans yearn for the sense of community and comradeship they had in the military. Community is essential for overall mental-wellness and provides a sense of belonging. Communal programs enable people in a way to maintain relationships, friendships, and jobs all while getting involved. With the help of local organizations, volunteers, and the Dream Center community, our program provides veterans with the tools to develop positive social and life-building skills amongst other veterans and like-minded individuals.
Stephen Gomez, Veterans
“These days I’m focused on building a better relationship with my children, while trying to get my housing reinstated. The Dream Center has given me a safe place to work on myself. It has taught me that it is better to give than to receive. I’ve learned to keep my focus on Jesus. There is nothing impossible for Him. To anyone considering seeking help from the Veterans Program, do it! It’s a life changer!”
There is certainly progress to be made when it comes to helping our veterans. By bringing awareness to these challenges, and aiding in preventive measures, The Dream Center can best serve veterans and truly thank them for their service. The journey of transitioning into civilian life can be a tough one, but it doesn’t have to be faced alone. With their skillset, faith, and the love and help of the community, it can come with ease.
* The Dream Center Veterans Program is a residential transitional housing and not a long-term housing, care or recovery facility. Although the dream Center does offer this service in various forms, they do not apply to the veterans program specifically.
You can learn more about our Veterans Residential Program and other helpful programs here.