A program for Veterans
This program is funded by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is available to veterans who have served their country and have a General or Honorable Discharge. Ability to access this program is determined by FIRST’s Veterans Case Manager through interview and requires registration with the Asheville Veterans Administration Center. FIRST is one of but a handful of programs nationally which offer substance use treatment, case management services, job placement assistance and room and board to the homeless veterans population.
For those admitted to Vets FIRST, upon completion of “phase one,” they begin job search which requires that they avail themselves of the resources and partners that FIRST has in the community to seek gainful employment. Clients in this program also have the option to return to school and work part time if they desire. Those who have service connected disabilities and cannot work may be referred to volunteer organizations where they may use their current skills or gain new ones.
Once the Vets FIRST client has established gainful employment, they are eligible to move into one of the veteran cottages, which are transitional living houses located on the FIRST Treatment Campus. At this point the client begins to pay a three hundred and seventy dollar per month program fee. All other costs are subsidized by the VA. Clients can only accept first shift employment positions, as they are required to participate in all FIRST Clinical and 12 Step activities during the evenings and weekends in order to remain in the program.
Monies earned by the client during this time are held in an account for them and they have the ability to take weekly draws for their expenses. These draws are monitored by the FIRST Veterans Case Manager to ensure that the client is using their money wisely and saving a significant portion of it in order to be self sufficient upon completion of the program. “Vets FIRST” clients will remain in this “re-entry” phase for ten months and during that time, depending upon their individual financial responsibilities, will have the potential to save between five and fifteen thousand dollars or more as all of their major needs are provided for.