• October 21, 2022

Battle Buddies to the Rescue

Battle Buddies to the Rescue

Battle Buddies to the Rescue 150 150 CVillacorte

U.S. Army veteran Jamarro is homeless no more, thanks to the Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN), a community-driven support network serving veterans and their families in the U.S.

Staffed by veterans and military family members, dubbed “battle buddies,” VPAN provides connections to services provided by Los Angeles County departments, nonprofits, the VA and Los Angeles City programs. In addition to connecting callers with housing, health care, financial, legal and employment advice & assistance, VPAN also makes clinical professionals available to assist those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.

After Compton City Councilman Andre Spicer’s office referred Jamarro to VPAN, Battle Buddy/USMC vet James Shotter began helping Jamarro make the move from homelessness to housing, with an assist from fellow Battle Buddies Randall Cunningham (Coast Guard) and Oscar Rosales (USMC). They also coordinated with Orange County’s Patriots & Paws to furnish Jamarro’s apartment.

“VPAN’s strength lies in how effective we are at linking veterans with existing resources and being willing to put in the time for them,” Shotter said.

Resources available to VPAN participants include:

  • Mental Health – Treatment for trauma from combat exposure, military sexual trauma, relationship and intimacy issues
  • Substance Misuse Support – Treatment for substance use disorders, including misuse of alcohol, prescription medication and other drugs
  • Housing – Temporary and permanent housing for veterans and their families, help locating housing
  • Workforce Development and Employment – Help with developing interview skills, resume creation, job coaching, plus volunteer and job opportunities
  • Healthcare – Enrollment into VA healthcare, transportation to appointments, ensuring access to prescription medications
  • Education – Support with school enrollment, vocational training, tuition assistance
  • Miscellaneous – Food, childcare, transportation, financial assistance and more
  • Legal Services – Help with eviction prevention, discharge upgrade, applying for VA benefits, etc.
  • Social Connection/Recreation – Opportunities to connect with other veterans in a variety of settings

To connect with VPAN, please call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s  Veteran Support Line at (800) 854-7771, *3  (9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week), visit one of its Rally Points throughout L.A. County or email veterans@dmh.lacounty.gov.

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