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The Roots

The Roots

The Roots Program

Historical Synopsis: Originally envisioned by Zach Albrecht in 2005, the program has continuously evolved through research from first hand experiences, collaboration with other veterans, and through our partnerships with organizations in the area. The Roots Program is specifically designed to help with chronic homelessness among veterans by providing an entire support structure, flexible employment, and affordable housing in a year long rehabilitation plan.

Status update below!

Overview of the Homeless Veteran Crisis

Homelessness is a complex problem and individually unique with each person. This crisis is driven by a variety situations and circumstances, such as: emotional personal crisis, trauma, poverty, employment, discrimination, and run ins with the law. Negative influence or lack of positive influence from friends and family only compound the problem. With a veteran, it’s even more complex because there is commonly a combination of factors at play that are affecting their measurement, as well as a cultural influence.

Over the years, and the funding given to the VA, the VA has improved in their ability to tackle the problem among homeless veterans but it has not been enough. This is where third parties, such as charities, non-profits, and a variety of organizations have stepped in to help with the crisis. This amount of goodwill and effort by others has had a phenomenal impact on helping to cover the gap. However, the crisis in itself is continuously not reported in a way that does not account for the size of the crisis.

For example in 2018, the Department of Veteran Affairs for Wisconsin estimated that we have 332 homeless veteran which can be found in an excel document on the VA website, located here or here. However, this reporting only states how many are left for that year, not how many have been taken care. For 2018, Wisconsin actually had 1,463 homeless veterans in the state by all reporting homeless shelters in the state and similar numbers the years before. That information can be located here. That is over 4 times higher than what was reported by the department of Veteran Affairs. Of that number, 133 homeless veterans were found on the streets during monthly outreach efforts with outreach efforts occurring once monthly. Even with the higher reported number as accounted by reporting homeless shelters across the state, this additionally does not account for:

  • transient homeless veterans traveling through and from the state.
  • Veterans that may have broken the law and ended up in jail as a means to just survive.
  • Veterans that fully isolated themselves entirely and are now camping in public woodlands.
  • Veterans that may be on a friend or family members couch.

In conclusion, the problem is 5 to maybe 7 times higher than what we account for through the funding and outreach capabilities we have today. So from 2013, when Five Finger death Punch released to “Wrong side of Heaven” which reported 300,000 homeless veterans to current day, we’ve only moved impacted the problem about 21,416 in the most conservative measurement, or about 3,059 a year combined across 50 states.

This is a crisis and we are failing them!

A Homeless Veterans set of Challenges

What makes homeless among veterans such a challenge?

As a result of any of these aforementioned items, the chances of homelessness can increase greatly from the below identified items, especially when there is a combination of them effecting a veteran.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol are one of the most common coping mechanisms that veterans will very quickly resort to for a variety of reasons. It may be the environment they live in, not enough of an emotional support structure, or conditions that require a prescription to aid in treatment. Addiction is usually a result of further underlying issue that has been failed to be addressed and often compounds existing problems.

Impacts:

Everyone

Parental, Familial, Societal Alienation has a very disruptive effect on veterans and is a form of cultural conflict. Service members live in a cohesive communal culture and environment that typical society feels surreal to them when leave the military.

Impacts:

Everyone

This effects Reservists and the National Guard units the most immediately. Active duty service members will experience this after. Due to deployment rates, employers from 2001 to 2016 and prior high deployment times in other conflicts, have been reluctant to hire veterans because if the veteran was called up for active duty, the employer may lose the employee for the entire duration yet have to retain the position for them due to USERRA. Prior to 1994, there was very few laws that protected a Veteran. During the recession, employers found ways to fire employees about to mobilize or entirely changed the position during mobilization so that it was difficult for them to return to their job.

Impacts:

Employers of the Veteran

Service members that come back from a deployment with a mental health affliction or faced a form of trauma that inflicted mental health trauma. There’s a variety of factors as to why they refuse to open up about their psychological challenges. Two key areas of focus are:

Military service:

Anyone in the service knows there is quite a bit of stigma around promotions from having a mental health record in your military jacket. Everyone wants to be promoted and will do their best to hide an ailment they believe would affect them negatively when a slot opens for them.

Civilian life: 

The stigma has even larger ramifications that may result in being denied a job, loss of access to their children from a adversarial parent that seeks to alienate, or social events that the veteran wants to partake in. Society has deliberate areas of discrimination that make it extremely difficult for veterans to talk about mental health.

 

Impacts:

Friends, Family, Veteran, & Employers

Military Sexual Trauma refer to sexual assault or harassment experienced during military service. MST, for short, includes any sexual activity that you are involved with against your will. This has a lasting impact on the emotional and physical well-being of a person.

Amputation, organ functionality, dis-figuration all effects the physical capabilities of a veteran but it also affects the perception of others who look at and up to them. These conditions can really effect their mental health, access to jobs, lifetime longevity, and their general quality of life.

Impacts:

Veteran

Very common with veterans that have to serve tours longer than 6 months at a time or have deployed excessively. The deployments place a lot of strain on the family, particularly those that have children as the family has to re-acclimate to their roles once the veteran returns home.

Impacts:

Friends, Family, and Veteran

All other forms of danger that may inflict mental or physical trauma on a person that usually causes a combination of physical and mental trauma. This could be in the from of assault, survivor remorse, rape, or near-death events.

Impacts:

Veteran

The Plan

How is Partisan going to take care of our homeless veterans?

The plan is lengthy but realize that working through years of problems will not be solved in a day. It takes time, commitment, and consistent effort to build a successful path for each person. Many of these men and women have been given up on by friends and family and it takes a long time for them to rebuild trust in others, confidence in themselves, and strength physically and emotionally. What we’ve developed is called called our HEAT strategy which stands for Health, Education, Adapted Employment, and Transition. They come into the program focusing purely on their health for a few months, getting them into mental health counseling, establishing social reintegration paths, while giving them a peaceful environment to grow in. As time goes along, we steadily introduce structure and purpose by employing them, getting them into a trade skill program they can long-term strive in, while continue to build up long-term friendships and relationships with their family. The last phase gives them what our military should be doing, a reasonable transition out into society through ensuring employment, an affordable living, and helping to maintain socialization between the veteran and those important to them.

Want to learn more about the Roots Program?

You can find more info here!

Status Update!

Since there has been a lot of interest in this, Zach has decided to make the mission more community based. As of 1/20/2020, Partisan Resources Co, a new 501 (c) 3 subsidiary under the Freedom Warriors Foundation has been developed. This allows for anyone to donate to the cause and allow this to grow! Since being able to accept donations, organizations like the Wisconsin Veteran Village Association has become a partner of the program and Werner Electric Supply Company are actively becoming more involved the initiative! A lot more information to come soon!

We need your help!

The easiest way to help is to buy our products. As a result of your purchase, this is what your purchase does:

  • Every purchase helps a homeless veterans in our program today and tomorrow be able to return to a healthy, sustainable, life.
    • Our Survival Packs help not only this program but our outreach program where we go find more of them and get them items they critically need to survive.
  • Every purchase helps to grow the organization so that we can help even more homeless veterans every year. This in turn helps:
    • The Department of Veteran Affairs VHRP and VORP programs.
    • Homeless Shelters
    • Outreach initiatives by all organizations to keep unsheltered homeless veterans off the streets.
  • Promote Climate Positive Initiatives. We are not striving to be just carbon neutral, we are aiming to be climate positive.
  • Community Positive Impact. Helping to bring our society forwards through caring for our friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Organic certified produce is truly better for your family and you. Scientifically and medically proven true.

With a handful of great reasons, what not take a look at our store and see if something peaks your interest?