As Legal Aid’s veterans’ fellow, I am excited to share the news that a dynamic, new resource center for homeless veterans – the VA Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) – has opened its doors in the District. The Center, the first of its kind in the Washington D.C. area, was mentioned in a recent Washington City Paper article about how the federal government is committing more resources to assist homeless veterans. Located at 1500 Franklin Street NE (a mile away from the Rhode Island Metro Station), CRRC is open to veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
At the CRRC, homeless veterans are able to receive primary care and mental health services at any time of the day. If a veteran visits the CRRC in the middle of the night and there are no doctors present, then VA staff will connect the veteran to state-of-the-art medical technology that enables VA doctors from anywhere in the U.S. to see, talk to, and examine veterans remotely, and then decide whether the veteran needs to be taken to an emergency room.
Legal Aid has already established a presence at the CRRC, and right now, our plan is to conduct intake there every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, beginning June 27, 2012. In addition, veterans can access a range of other services at the CRRC, including those provided by HUD/VASH case workers, employment specialists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, the Veterans Benefits Administration, Social Security Administration, and those provided by other community partners such as All Faith Consortium and Pathways to Housing.
At this time, the CRRC does not have beds because it’s not intended to be a residence – more a place of respite, like the Stand Downs of the past. However, it does have a computer lab, kitchen, food pantry, play room for children, and laundry and shower facilities.