Volunteers of America (VOA) Mid-States recently opened a facility in Owensboro to offer two programs to veterans and their families: one helps those in need find permanent housing, and the other offers services to prevent suicide and address moral injury. VOA has also purchased nearby properties to build a new facility for their Freedom House, a program that provides residential treatment for pregnant and parenting women overcoming substance use disorder.
VOA is one of the oldest social service organizations in the region — this marks its 127th year — and has several service lines. The local VOA Honor Veterans Services facility is located at 523 Frederica Street.
Dr. Anyah Hoang-Ansert, vice president of veteran and housing services, said that after only being open for a couple of months, they already have about 30 active clients.
“Our VOA honor office here in Owensboro has two distinct programs. One is our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSFV). That is our housing program for veterans who are unhoused or at imminent risk of becoming unhoused,” she said. “Then we have our moral injury and preventing suicide program. That is for veterans and active duty military who might be struggling and need a little extra support.”
The VOA Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These programs provide eligible veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits. In addition, programs may also provide time-limited payments to third parties (landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers) if these payments help veteran families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.
VOA’s Moral Injury and Preventing Suicide (MIPS) program provides case management to connect veterans, active-duty members, and veterans who are first responders to mental health services that prevent suicide and address moral injury. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a moral injury can occur in response to acting or witnessing behaviors that go against an individual’s values and moral beliefs.
For more information about the programs or to find help, visit the VOA office at 523 Frederica Street or call 270-297-4242.
VOA also recently purchased two nearby properties that will be home to their nationally recognized recovery program for women — Freedom House — and transitional housing for graduates of the program.
The lot at 1201 Frederica Street (formerly Winner Furniture) will be home to Freedom House, while the lot at 1111 Frederica Street (formerly Fuller Muffler & Brake) will be the location of VOA’s Transitional Living. Company representatives said the transitional living facility will provide a sober living environment for women with young children who are in recovery.
VOA’s Freedom House started serving pregnant and parenting women struggling with substance use disorder in Louisville 30 years ago and has since expanded the program across the Commonwealth.
“Freedom House addresses the cycle of addiction by allowing women to keep their children with them as they go through the program, giving them a safe space to find the root cause of their substance use disorder, take back their lives, and learn how to be caring and successful parents while maintaining their sobriety,” according to a release from VOA.
In November 2022, WellCare of Kentucky donated more than $1 million to VOA to support the expansion of Freedom House, and the organization started plans to bring the program to Owensboro.
VOA was finally able to purchase the properties after support from WellCare, the Kentucky General Assembly, and Humana, along with investment from PNC Bank, Hager Education Foundation, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation and Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR).
VOA plans to break ground on the Freedom House facilities in 2024 and them in early 2025.
“VOA is truly grateful to have the support of such a prestigious and diverse group of donors,” said Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO of VOA Mid-States. “Their generous contribution will mean life-changing support for the Owensboro community. We can’t wait to break ground on these two essential programs next year.”
The organization has kicked off its Freedom House Capital Campaign to raise funds to further aid their expansion efforts. VOA is striving to raise $8 million to support the new programs in Owensboro and is asking the community to join their efforts and help them reach their goal.
To learn more about the Freedom House program or how to support the campaign contact VOA Mid-States Senior Director of Fund Development Dave Bell at [email protected].