Our first project, Eagles Landing at Beaumont, California is Ready and going.
VA Secretary James Nicholson said, "By partnering with cities and communities and faith based providers, we are making progress in fighting veteran homelessness. Helping these Veterans get off the streets and substance free so that they may return to independent living is a priority."
Eagles Landing is a 7 person social model transitional housing project designed and developed in cooperation with the Veterans Administration Homeless Outreach an the Grant/Per Diem project.
At a recent opening of a similar project in Denver, Colorado, national Drug Policy Director John Walters stated that this type of long term intervention to address veteran homeless represents "critical outreach on the part of the VA" and that " with proper diagnosis and intervention, the disease of addiction is treatable, as with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. By implementing on-site counseling at transition facilities, we help the recovering veterans get one critical step closer to being back on their feet."
Robin Welch, Director of Operations for Veterans Alliance of Southern California, responded, "I've known Linda (co-founder and program design) over 10 years. I've heard her say that addiction is treatable in the same way as diabetes or other diseases for years, meaning that once diagnosed, the treatment plan must be based on education, awareness and self resolve to be healthy."
Ms. Nunez adds, "if were going to place the medical term 'disease', which is the current trend in addiction, (versus early 12-step "character flaw" definition), on the addiction, then we must put it in the category of other diseases that respond to self care as much as medicine.
"Here's the good news," she said, " with a diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes or addiction...Now you know. Here's the bad news... Now you Know. And you are responsible for the long term effects caused by your disease if you do not take action, much of it in simple lifestyle changes, to control your disease.
"Diabetes does not kill you; neglect of the healthcare issues which cause diabetes kills you. In its early stages, health management, including weight control, exercise, and lifestyle changes are effective treatments. However, if one fails to take self responsibility and self care seriously, diabetes will progress to insulin dependence, nueropathy, loss of toes, feet, legs, then sight and yes...life.
"The same is true with addiction. Self care of an addict includes the responsibility to refuse addictive substances. Just like the diabetic who cannot eat sugar, the alcoholic cannot drink. If either ignore this primary rule of self care, the results can be disasterous for them, their families.... and yes the results can be life threatening. One major difference is the life threatening side of the consequence column increases with the addict and alcoholic. Their actions put others at risk, by driving impaired, by the increase in crime and violence.
"To be empowered to crate a long term, life changing program in cooperation with the VA is an amazing opportunity for us, and a huge responsibility, and we feel, a God-given one. To teach, to empower, and to allow the lessons of self responsibility to take seed in the human spirit is a great way to use one's life.
" We are honored, and humbled, by these men and women, and by this mission, and will use all resources at our disposal to."