As COVID-19 crisis continues to capture local and national headlines, a Sound program that supports Veterans continues to find creative ways to support the men and women who served their country. When the crisis first emerged, the program, called Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), stepped in when the temporary shelters the Veterans depended upon closed or reduced capacity due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Being displaced meant that the Veterans’ access to shelter and food were severely curtailed or even eliminated.
The program worked with local hotels to provide emergency housing for the Veterans and launched partnerships with regional providers to provide them meals. Early in the pandemic, SSVF accessed meals to deliver to clients through a partnership between King County Veterans Program and FareStart, thanks to dollars from the King County Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy. This was an amazing effort to support people who were highly vulnerable.
When the funding for this partnership ended, SSVF team members again rolled up their sleeves, identified partners and directed program funds toward supporting local businesses who could help keep our Veterans from going hungry, focusing on partnerships with smaller, mostly minority-owned businesses. To date, Sound SSVF has partnered with Conscious Eatery (Georgetown), Off the Rez (U District), Where Ya At Matt (Food Truck), Purple Dot Café (International District), Kate’s Pub (Wallingford), and Rainier Restaurant (Rainier Valley).
“Our team jumped at the opportunity to shift our response to meet the needs of the veterans we serve during this crisis. The SSVF National Program Office allowed us the flexibility to change the type of services we provide, shifting our focus to providing more crisis level services, such as providing emergency shelter in hotels and food,” says Evan Brennan, SSVF Program Supervisor, who has been at the head of coordinating this effort.
Not only did the change in service focus support clients, but it mobilized partnerships and invigorated team members.
“Our team members are so energized by both the ability do something impactful for our clients and the wonderful response by the local food providers, who support the work we’re doing,” says Annamaria Gueco, Sound Senior Clinic Manager, who oversees the program. “We know these partnerships have meant so much for our clients, who may feel forgotten and isolated during the crisis. I’m so glad that we can keep this program going for the foreseeable future as the pandemic continues.”