Home » Letetia P. Henderson speaks on homeless veteran support at Lions Club

Letetia P. Henderson speaks on homeless veteran support at Lions Club

by Amber McDown

Letetia P. Henderson, LCSW-BACS, coordinator of the Community Resource and Referral Center for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program at Overton Brooks VAMC, was the guest speaker at the February 22 meeting of the Minden Lions Club.

With nearly 25 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Henderson has dedicated over 16 years to the HCHV program. She has worked in various capacities within the program, including the Residential and HUD VASH programs.

Speaking about the growth of the HCHV program, Henderson remarked, “I started the homeless program almost 17 years ago. I was the fourth staff person, and we now have around 30 staff members. The program has grown because the need is so great.”

The HCHV program focuses on assisting homeless veterans or those at risk of homelessness, many of whom are struggling with mental illness, addiction, and lack of support. Case management is a key component, with staff helping veterans access appropriate programs for their needs. Henderson emphasized, “Our ultimate goal is that the veteran does not become homeless again.”

The program offers three residential programs in Shreveport, as well as HUD VASH, which provides housing vouchers to veterans. Henderson highlighted the importance of this program, stating, “If there is a landlord who wants to rent to a veteran, they can work directly with the Housing Authority and rent their property to a veteran.”

Notably, the VA is seeing an increase in older veterans and female veterans seeking assistance. Henderson expressed the challenges in providing services tailored to women and families, stating, “Most of the VA services are geared toward male veterans, but we are seeing more women and more families. There aren’t as many resources that are readily available for women and children.”

Importantly, veterans do not need to be homeless to receive assistance. Henderson encouraged veterans to seek help early, stating, “There are organizations and agencies that have federal funding to help a veteran to prevent becoming homeless. They may be eligible for a program to help them get caught up on their rent.”

Henderson urged veterans to reach out for support, emphasizing, “Let the veterans know that we’re here, and we’re here to help provide services for them so that they’re not homeless.” Veterans in crisis can call the national crisis line at 988 (then select option 1) for immediate assistance, with reports sent to Overton Brooks for follow-up. The HCHV program can also be reached directly at (318) 990-4401. Walk-ins are accepted on weekdays from 8 AM to 2 PM at 3000 Knight Street, Building 5 in Shreveport.

The Minden Lions Club has interesting speakers every Thursday at the  American Legion Memorial Hall, 119 W. Pine St. in downtown Minden. The Lions extend a warm welcome to potential new members interested in contributing to community service.

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