The Gold Coast Veterans Foundation is a private non-profit organization providing critical services to US Military veterans. GCVF receives no government funding and yet has grown to become the largest non-profit serving veterans and their families in Ventura County. As the hub of a county-wide network of public and private partner organizations, volunteers, and professionals, GCVF is a comprehensive "one-stop" center that improves the lives of over 3,000 veterans a year.
Their programs were specifically designed to meet critically important needs that are often not addressed or integrated into existing large government systems. These un-met needs leave gaps in the quality and integrity of care for our veterans, which eventually lead to homelessness, untreated physical and mental illness, PTSD, substance abuse, and recidivism.
Their core programs create a safety net and a pathway to successful outcomes. Veterans Connection is the service gateway providing one-on-one assistance with benefits and claims, comprehensive support, equipment, etc. Mobile Veteran Outreach saves lives by engaging homeless or home-bound veterans, followed by direct hands-on intervention to address the root causes of veteran homelessness. Financial Coaching gives veterans the knowledge and tools to improve, control, and protect their financial well-being. Small Business Training leverages military skill sets to empower new entrepreneurs, executives, and business owners. Specialized Counseling and Wellness programs address the unique service-related emotional/behavioral difficulties that affect civilian re-integration. Housing Resources include shelter, emergency and short-term housing and voucher assistance for veterans who are at-risk of homelessness.
The Mobile Veteran Outreach program is led by Army veteran Rafael Stoneman and his enormous service dog Leo, who either make direct contact with homeless veterans or get referral calls from law enforcement and county mental health services. A formerly homeless veteran himself (now with a degree in psychology and addiction counseling), Stoneman and Leo have the ability to get the most difficult, high-risk homeless veterans engaged into a conversation, and begin participating in a range of life-saving services. This program was launched part-time 6 months ago and in this short period, 17 homeless veterans have been placed in housing, are on track to get into housing, or have been rescued from life threatening conditions. Rafael works these cases one at a time and stays on them until resolved. A recent fundraising golf tournament raised enough funds to move this program to full time for the remainder of 2019 but more funds are urgently needed to sustain this full time into 2020.