Endeavors Names New Leadership Roles

Endeavors Names New Leadership Roles

The non-profit serves thousands affected by homelessness, natural disaster, disabilities and mental health challenges.

San Antonio, Texas – Endeavors, formerly Family Endeavors, announced today that President and CEO Travis Pearson has resigned, effective Friday, October 19, 2018. Jon Allman, Chairman of the Board, has been named interim President and CEO. Board Vice Chairman Maj Gen Al Flowers (ret) will succeed Allman in the role of Chairman Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“Travis Pearson made significant contributions to Endeavors in the areas of Veteran homelessness and mental health,” said Mr. Allman. “During his tenure, Travis led substantial growth with our private, public, and governmental partners. We understand and support his decision to step down and are grateful for his many accomplishments. We wish him and his family the very best.”

Mr. Allman graduated with a BSME from the University of Arkansas in 1987, where he completed the Air Force ROTC program. During his 20-year career Allman flew combat missions while leading the only dedicated aeromedical evacuation squadron in Europe as Director of Operations. In October 2000 he piloted the MacKay Trophy award-winning mission to Aden Yemen, rescuing critically wounded survivors from the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. Since retirement Allman founded Skyward Media Group, a digital marketing agency specializing in hyperlocal marketing.

Allman earned an MA from Webster University in St Louis, Missouri. He has served on the board of directors for three years and is an elder at Oak Hills Church. He is also a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars Associations.

Maj Gen Al Flowers (ret) Named Chairman of the Board

Endeavors board member Maj Gen Al Flowers (ret) will be Chairman, Board of Directors. “Maj Gen Flowers’ strong leadership and extensive military service has facilitated great momentum and collaboration among one of our largest growing business sectors,” said Mr. Allman. “I’m excited about his leadership and look forward to working with him and the board during this transition.”

Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers’ 46-year Air Force career began in 1965 as a supply warehouseman. His final assignment in 2012 was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget (Chief Financial Officer) for the United States Air Force where he was responsible for annual budgets of more than $119 billion.

He is hailed as the longest-serving airman in the history of the Air Force, and the longest-serving active-duty African American in all branches in Department of Defense history.

About Endeavors

Endeavors, formerly Family Endeavors, is a national non-profit agency that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities.

Contact: Aaron Javener, VP Development

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Endeavors Opens Home for Female Veterans

Endeavors ready to reopen Reveille Retreat to homeless mothers and their children – VIDEO.

Spectrum News | Nov. 15, 2017

For over two years, the Jubilee House for homeless female veterans has sat empty in Fayetteville.

After the former owner fell victim to ongoing financial trouble, the state awarded the property to a new non-profit, Endeavors.

Now, the new owners want to make this house a haven for the homeless once again.

The Reveille Retreat will be a transitional home for eight veteran mothers and their children. There is room for 24 people inside the home.

Tammi Woodard with Endeavors says these families will be getting much more than just a roof over their heads.

“They’ll be able to move-in with their families and start having supportive services, either through education, getting a job, getting their kids in school, and if they have any mental health issues, we can get them help,” Woodard said.

According to Cumberland County statistics, women make up 43 percent of the homeless population and nine percent are veterans.

​The Reveille Retreat is hoping to move its first family in by January.

Learn more about Reveille Retreat

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Former Jubilee House reopening next year as Reveille Retreat

The Reveille Retreat home will house homeless Veteran mothers and children.

Fayetteville Observer | Nov 15, 2017

When female veterans walk through the doors of the new Reveille Retreat home in Fayetteville, they should feel cherished and energized.

That’s the vision of Travis Pearson, president and CEO of Family Endeavors, which renovated Reveille Retreat from its former shell of the Jubilee House on Langdon Street. The new home, which could open early next year, will have space for eight families, or up to 24 homeless veteran mothers and children.

“I want them to feel acceptance, I want them to pick up a sense of hope,” Pearson said. “By the time someone comes to this program, if you take a minute to think what they had to go through to get that down on their luck where they’re completely broke, in debt, homeless, kids are behind in school, to have a place where they’ll be able to get better at their speed and they’ll have practical, innovative resources to get there, it’s just a blessing.”

The home was built in 2011 amid fanfare as part of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.″ It fell on hard times and was vacant for awhile.

Family Endeavors, a local organization dedicated to serving homeless veterans, bought the home in 2016 with plans to use it and other properties to serve as transitional housing for veterans.

Earlier this year, the organization said it could take as long as three years to finish extensive repairs and renovations needed to reopen the home. They still need $400,000 to complete renovations that repaired water damage from Hurricane Matthew, handicap-accessible features and to bring structural safety up to standard.

The home features private bedrooms, handicap-accessible bathrooms, a communal kitchen and living space, an inside play area for small children and a garden in the backyard.

In addition to housing, Family Endeavors will provide case management, parenting education, mental health counseling, employment/education coaching and self-sufficiency skills.

According to the organization, $250,000 annually is required to run those programs.

The project was a priority for Family Endeavors because Pearson said he recognized a need to serve female veterans, which was the initial focus of the former home.

“It’s an honor to come in and pick up on the original vision the community had and keep it here and take it to the next steps,” Pearson said. “Women veterans have a place where they can catch their breath and get back on their feet, get their lives back together. It’s a blessing.”

On Wednesday, Family Endeavors opened the home for a sneak peek for community leaders.

Glenn Adams, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, lauded Family Endeavors for stepping up to take over the home.

“You all stepped in when there was a critical need,” he said. “You invested. You invested in this community. You invested into the lives of people of this community and we will be forever indebted to you.″

Learn more about Reveille Retreat

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Retired gunnery sergeant provides supportive services for veteran families through Endeavors™

Retired from the military himself, Ken Becker now works to connect supportive services for veteran families with Endeavors™.

|March 2, 2017|
|The Globe|

To believe in people’s capacity to grow, to heal, to change, to succeed and to affect others around them is the motto Ken Becker lives by as the outreach and intake specialist of supportive services for veteran families with Endeavors™.

Becker, retired from the Marine Corps in December 2007 as a motor transport maintenance chief after 20 years of service. The former gunnery sergeant grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina and often reminisces about his childhood, growing up in a military community.

One of Becker’s favorite memories growing up as a military child was receiving tapes with stories from his dad, who would send them to him and his brother so they could hear his voice.

“My father retired from the Army and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. But I chose the Marines for the added challenge,” said Becker. “I enjoyed growing up in the military and the stability of it. Even if my dad was deployed we still had the military community to lean on,” said Becker. “I wanted my children to have that so that was also one of the reasons why I joined.”

Currently, Becker is responsible for conducting the initial eligibility screening of veterans who need assistance.

“I conduct outreach and networking activities in the community; such as seeking out and working with homeless veterans in shelters and in tent cities,” said Becker. “If they are eligible and wish to receive our help, I enroll them in the program. They are then assigned to a case manager who works with them while they are in the program. During their time in the program, veterans are assisted finding housing, employment, filing for benefits, registering for school, or whatever their goals might be.”

For Becker one of the most rewarding aspects of his job is running into veterans who they have helped get back on their feet. “Seeing the transformation is very fulfilling,” said Becker.

Becker credits the Marine Corps for his discipline and initiative, and chose Jacksonville to retire because this is where both of his children were born.

“We decided to stay because this is our home. I spent most of my active-duty time stationed at Camp Lejeune. This town is where my two children were born and raised,” said Becker. “My wife stayed here through my deployments and works here.”

His advice for young service members is to have a solid plan to fall back on and to set tangible goals.

“The most important step is making a plan. If you want something, find out the steps of how to get there and become something you can be proud of,” said Becker.

Endeavors™ is a national non-profit agency that provides services and practical solutions for families who have been torn by poverty and need crisis intervention.

The Veteran Services program offers homelessness prevention and stabilization services to veterans and their families. Services are provided to veteran families with very low income, veterans facing eviction and veterans who are currently homeless.

Our Jacksonville, North Carolina can be reached at (910) 459-4320.
Learn more about the services for Veteran families and counties served in North Carolina.

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Deployment Stress is a Family Matter

|Jan. 27, 2017|

|San Antonio Express-News|

When a soldier deploys, the burden of that deployment is carried by the family left behind. This can lead to post-deployment stress and secondary PTSD when those troops return.

“We know there is an equivalent to PTSD in children and spouses and this is a situation that carries through every fiber of that family,” Carmen Fies, head of the Center for Military Families at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The center held a panel Saturday discussing the impact of post-deployment stress on families after more than 15 years of war.

“Post-deployment stress really extends beyond the service member to the spouse and the children left behind,” one of the panelists, Kat Cole of Endeavors™ and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, said.

Endeavors™ offers free mental health care to veterans and their dependents. The clinic, operated in partnership with the San Antonio nonprofit Endeavors™, also treats spouses and children exposed to secondhand trauma and works to repair marriages and parent-child relationships.

Veterans almost seem apologetic when they call for help, Cole said. She said she’ll hear them say, “‘I totally understand if there are other veterans who need the help more than me.’”

Spouses and caregivers feel the same way, Cole said. They often feel their spouse is the one who needs help, while they’re on the back burner.

Family members, however, also suffer effects from deployment. Research shows a 24 percent higher rate of depression for wives whose spouse deployed for 11 months or longer. Another study found that almost 37 percent of the wives whose husbands were deployed were diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder.

For children, having a parent who has been for deployed for a total for 19 months is associated with decreased tests scores in school. One study found 33 percent of children between 5 and 12 with deployed parents had a high likelihood of developing social and psychological problems. In a 2011 report to Congress, the Department of Defense found a 19 percent increase in behavioral disorders among military children with a deployed parent.

The stresses are compounded when a service member goes to war and comes back wounded.

Dan Blasini, a panelist at the event and vice president of military affairs at Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital of San Antonio, works with veterans who have been wounded in combat.

The service member must learn to cope with their disability, even for common tasks. Family members often want to help with everything right away, but Blasini said he encourages them to step back at first, so the service member can learn their limits.

“The family has to know when to watch, when to help, when they need to intervene for safety reasons,” Blasini said. “That’s the balancing act.”

Fies said there needs to be more community awareness of the challenges facing military families so they can find help.

“The community as a whole needs to be aware of how to interact with military family members in productive ways, to know how to buffer these things,” Fies said.

Cole, a veteran, went through 11 deployments as a family. She said military families can easily get isolated in their communities. She said she sees in San Antonio efforts to see the issue as one affecting the whole family.

“More and more family members are coming out of the woodwork,” Cole said. “They’re thinking, ‘If I can take better care of myself, I can take better care of my family.’”

Read more from J.P. Lawrence
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Point-In-Time Homeless Count in San Antonio | Photo Essay

Tommy Riester, was a homeless veteran for more than a year before finding Endeavors™ employee Teresa Estrada. Today he’s a volunteer in the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count to help those that still are.

|Jan. 27, 2017|

|Rivard Report| |Photos by Scott Ball|

The Point in Time (PIT) Count seeks to determine the number of homeless people on the nation’s streets and in shelters on a single night. In San Antonio, more than 400 volunteers fanned out across the city to survey the homeless population.

The annual count is conducted throughout the nation in order for states to qualify for federal funds to assist the homeless population. It also is a way for nonprofits, cities, and law enforcement to identify more effective ways to address homelessness.

To view PIT Counts in San Antonio from previous years, click here.

On Thursday night, I was attached to an outreach group that included a San Antonio police officer, a volunteer who had once been homeless, workers from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and volunteers from Family Endeavors Inc., a national nonprofit that provides services to children, families, veterans, and anyone struggling with mental illness and other significant disabilities.

ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-1 ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-4 ScottBall_PIT_Point_in_Time_Homelessness_Homeless_Population_SanAntonio_VA_Family_Endeavors_1-26-2017-8-e1485665395620

This year, the federally mandated PIT Count was conducted using a smartphone app, ‘Counting Us’, developed by SimtechSolutions, replacing the paper system used previously. The app was used to survey the homeless individuals we encountered. Volunteers gathered information on each person’s age, gender, ethnicity, years homeless, history of mental illness, and potential HIV diagnoses, among other things.

One member of our volunteer group, Tommy Riester, was homeless for more than a year after his wife dropped him off in front of the VA Hospital and left him. There, Riester tried to commit suicide five times. Eventually, the Navy veteran found a friend in Endeavor™ volunteer Teresa Estrada, who helped him transition out of homelessness. Riester, who suffers from severe PTSD, has been off the streets for a year.

When he was still homeless, he frequently visited Haven for Hope, a local comprehensive homeless shelter and transformation program. But Riester said his experience there was not positive, illustrating the complexity of issues facing homeless people. For some, shelters feel confining and unsafe, while for others, they provide a vital respite from the streets.

At Haven for Hope, an outdoor area called Prospects Courtyard functions as a sleeping space at night. Riester felt crowded in, “this far apart from each other sleeping,” he said, holding his hands approximately eight inches apart, “and everything’s getting stolen.”

Haven for Hope Outreach Manager Ron Brown said the facility provides lockers for people who sleep in the courtyard, and their use is encouraged. Two police officers are on duty until 11 p.m.

“[Theft] has gotten a lot better, but you’ve got to watch your stuff,” Brown said.

Brown said Haven for Hope has rules those who seek shelter at the facility must follow, but some find that difficult.

“It was a choice between being in there and having all these little restrictions,” Riester said. “It just doesn’t work out, and that’s why you end up with people out here.

“… People looked at me as a homeless person. They never looked at me as just an individual or that I was in the military, none of that,” Riester said of his past experiences on the streets. “I was a homeless veteran, but I was looked at as an alcoholic, a druggie, or in trouble with the law.”

View all photos from the 2017 Point-In-Time Count in San Antonio, TX. Photos by Scott Ball.

Learn more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in San Antonio online or call 210-431-6466.

ScottBall 2017 Point In Time Homeless Count
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USAA Pledges $1.3 Million to Help Combat Homelessness in San Antonio

Endeavors™ is one of six area non-profits receiving funds from USAA to combat homelessness in San Antonio. The news comes as the 2017 Point-in-Time Homeless Count is underway across the country.

|Jan. 26, 2017|

|The Rivard Report|

USAA officials announced Thursday that the company will contribute $1.3 million to help fight homelessness in San Antonio.

“The funds will be distributed among six area nonprofits,” South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) Executive Director Bill Hubbard told elected officials and community leaders during the announcement at D.R. Semmes Family YMCA at TriPoint. “Those are the American G.I. Forum’s National Veterans Outreach Program, Haven for Hope, Salvation Army, Endeavors™
 SAMMinistries, and SARAH.”

USAA, the San Antonio-based insurance and financial services company that serves military members and their families, pledged $2.1 million last year in support of the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. In May 2016, San Antonio effectively ended local veteran homelessness by pushing a “functional zero” goal, Mayor Ivy Taylor said, giving all veterans access to permanent housing and rapidly stabilizing those on the brink of homelessness.

The funds announced Thursday will support homeless veterans and broader efforts for the general homeless population, officials said.

“The San Antonio Police Department is proud to be part of an eventual solution to the homeless issue here in San Antonio,” SAPD Chief William McManus said after thanking Taylor and Hubbard for their efforts. “I don’t know that any other city pays as much attention to it as we do here in San Antonio.”

USAA’s announcement falls on the same day as the annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Count of the homeless population in San Antonio and Bexar County, which is conducted by SARAH. More than 400 volunteers will count both sheltered and unsheltered populations from 6 p.m.-midnight Thursday.

The PIT Count, mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides data on the overall homeless population on a single night. It is conducted nationwide in order for states to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. It also helps city and federal agencies, local law enforcement, and nonprofits like SARAH pinpoint effective tactics to address homelessness in San Antonio.

Since the Obama administration’s release of Opening Doors in 2010, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness, homelessness has declined by 14%, unsheltered homelessness by 25%, and chronic homelessness by 27%.

The 2016 PIT Counts estimated a total of 549,928 homeless individuals nationwide, with 23,122 of them located in Texas. SARAH’s 2016 PIT Count reported that 2,781 people were homeless on a single night in San Antonio/Bexar County and 1,137 of those were unsheltered.

“From 2015 to 2016 San Antonio saw a decrease in homelessness population numbers but other Texas cities saw an increase,” SARAH Continuum of Care Programs Manager Katie Vela told the Rivard Report. “It was a slight difference, ours went down by about 100 [people].”

To read HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress click here.

Although homelessness as a whole has decreased all over the U.S., SARAH staff told the Rivard Report that there has been a national and local uptick in young adult homelessness rates.

“In the last six months, 8% of all newly homeless individuals were between the ages of 18-24,” said SARAH Coordinated Entry Program Manager Luke Leppla. “What we are really hoping to gain from the PIT surveys is to see what is going on not just in San Antonio, but nationwide.”

This year, local organizers are utilizing a mobile app named “Counting Us” for the PIT Count. The app will record surveys as well as the GPS coordinates of where the survey was conducted, Leppla said. The gathered data will be sent to the TriPoint command center where it will be compiled on a big monitor with a map in real time.

“This is to get a sense of the geospacial distribution of the homeless in San Antonio, and the analysis parts come after,” Leppla said. “GPS tracking [helps us analyze] the concentration of people and what they have in common, but more importantly it will put some information in our hands as far as understanding different areas of town.”

Final PIT Count results will be available sometime in March, after Trinity University sociology students help scrub the data.

Read the full article here. Read more from Rocio Guenther.

Learn more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in San Antonio online or call 210-431-6466.

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Annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count Takes Place in North Carolina

Endeavors™ staff in North Carolina participate in the Point-In-Time homeless count, part of a national effort for communities across the nation to obtain a 24-hour snapshot of homelessness.

|Jan. 25, 2017|

|Fayetteville Observer|

The community services manager for Cumberland County Community Development Department anticipates an increase in the area’s homeless population from this year’s Point-In-Time count.

“Due to Hurricane Matthew, there were many people who lost their homes. You have that number in addition to the existing homeless population,” the Community Development’s Dee Taylor said Wednesday. “Many of these are probably staying in hotels still. This point-in-time does not give us a complete picture of the homeless in Cumberland County. It just gives us a snapshot.”

A year ago, 515 people were counted as homeless in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

The annual Point-In-Time homeless count got underway at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. Regarded as “a 24-hour snapshot of homelessness” in the community, it’s being conducted through 6a.m. today.

Sixty-seven-year-old George Atkins, who delivered the morning prayer before the homeless were served breakfast at Operation Insasmuch, says this rudimentary count of the street people population in the area provides a service.

” ‘Cause I was homeless myself,” he said from his table. “You know someone has their ears open, anyway.”

The Point-In-Time count, typically held within the last 10 days of January, is part of a national effort for communities across the nation, Taylor said.

Just before noon, Michelle Blanding, the program director for Endeavors™, reported that the count “was going pretty well.” That nonprofit organization provides assistance to low-income veterans and their families in the Fayetteville area.

In Blanding’s case, the homeless individuals who already had been approached for information for the Point-In-Time count surveys had been friendly, she said. “They did it last year. They’re very open,” she added. “They do understand the need, and they do ask you why?”

The count is federally mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, especially for those agencies receiving assistance from the McKinney-Vento homeless program.

The overall number is determined through both a street count, with volunteers canvassing the streets, under bridges and at soup kitchens, as well as a service count, conducted by agencies that provide emergency shelter, transitional housing or permanent housing to those experiencing homelessness.

For the survey, individuals are being asked, “Where did you sleep on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 25th?”

Volunteers and service providers also use the questionnaires to obtain information on such things as their background, whether they have specific conditions, whether they’re military, and whether they are survivors of domestic violence.

Sue Byrd, the executive director of Operation Insasmuch, said this information on who is being served helps her organization apply for grant money. In some cases, she said, these records can be of help to law enforcement.

Homeless individuals do not have to give their full names: An identifier on the forms asks only for the first two letters of their first and last names.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to them. They’re not here to put you in jail,” executive director Gladys Thompson told more than 35 people waiting in line to eat a hot lunch at the City Rescue Mission.

A 50-year-old homeless woman, on hand at Operation Inasmuch, was among those on board with providing personal information for the surveys. She declined to give her name.

“Even the homeless community keeps up with each other,” she said. “We’re a community. Just as you have the upper class, lower class, middle class, you have the homeless.”

Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at 486-3529

For more about Supportive Services for Veterans Families in Fayetteville, call 910-672-6166 or visit our Veterans Services online.

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Free Cohen clinics aim to fill VA’s shortfalls in mental health

The fact the Cohen clinics don’t have strict eligibility rules will enable them to reach an entire population of veterans who are currently being underserved.

|Dec. 1, 2016|

|USA Today|

Elenilson Franco, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, first sought mental health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs nearly four years ago.

He is still waiting. The VA lost his original paperwork and hasn’t yet approved a new application, he said.

“It’s frustrating,” lamented Franco, 46, who served in Iraq as a U.S. Marine. “I am a veteran. The VA is supposed to be there for me.”

Over the past three years, the sprawling VA system has come under fire from Congress and the media because veterans were waiting too long to see a doctor. Mental health appointments have been particularly difficult, and that can be dangerous for veterans. Studies show up to 20% of soldiers returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now, a new chain of free mental health clinics for vets has opened in five cities across the United States to fill the gap.

The much-needed new treatment is underwritten by an unlikely benefactor: Steven A. Cohen, the former head of a hedge fund that pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in 2013. His $13 billion fortune puts him among the 100 wealthiest individuals in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Cohen said the catalyst for the clinics was his son, Robert, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He said his son didn’t need counseling when he returned, but many of his friends did.

“I got lucky,” Cohen said. “My son came back in great shape, but not everyone is that fortunate.”

Cohen got involved with veterans’ mental health issues in 2011 through the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization. Then he began supporting the NYU Military Family Clinic. Now, he is investing $275 million nationally in the clinics and plans to open roughly 20 more over the next five years. The goal of the Cohen clinics is to provide confidential mental health services, free of charge, for veterans like Franco.

“Veterans are suffering,” Cohen said in a written response to questions. “They went overseas and paid an extraordinary debt that we need to repay. The goal of my network is to help pay back that debt and get veterans back into society in a functioning way.”

The clinics, part of the nonprofit Cohen Veterans Network, are intended primarily for those who have served in the military during the post-September 11 era, though they are open to all veterans. Cohen said he is putting them in areas of high need.

“There’s a large population of veterans who need mental health services,” said Terri Tanielian, a senior behavioral scientist at Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation. “This provides them with another option. … The clinics certainly add to our nation’s capacity.”

Franco, who lives in Huntington Park, Calif., said that he was able initially to find help through a local nonprofit, but he plans to visit the Cohen clinic in L.A. “very soon.”

In addition to Los Angeles, Cohen’s network also operates clinics in New York City, San Antonio, Philadelphia and Addison, Texas – a suburb of Dallas. They care for veterans regardless of how long they served or how they were discharged. The clinics also serve veterans’ family members. The outpatient centers treat a wide range of mental health disorders and help veterans make the transition back to civilian life. Cohen is also funding a nonprofit research organization, Cohens Veterans Bioscience, that will seek to develop tests and medications for PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

Cohen is the CEO of Point72 Asset Management in Stamford, Connecticut, and formerly headed SAC Capital Advisors, which pleaded guilty in 2013 to insider trading charges. Cohen himself is temporarily barred from supervising funds that manage outside money – part of an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The new network of clinics combats “the persistent delays and the persistent lack of access that our service members and our families have experienced,” said Marilyn L. Flynn, the dean of the University of Southern California School of Social Work. The Cohen clinic in Los Angeles operates in partnership with the School of Social Work and USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

“It’s not just lack of access,” Flynn said during the grand opening of the Los Angeles clinic last month. “In some cases, it’s exclusion.”

The VA estimated in 2014 that there were 2.6 million post-9/11 veterans.  They have high rates of depression, PTSD and other mental health problems.

One study by the VA found that about 30% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics had PTSD. Yet only about half of veterans with PTSD are receiving care for their condition, RAND’s Tanielian said. Barriers to care include a shortage of mental health providers and perceptions that seeking care is a sign of weakness or could hurt their career.

Some younger veterans prefer not to use VA facilities for health care, either because of location, concerns about confidentiality or a desire not to take services away from older veterans, Tanielian said.

And many veterans seek care outside the VA because they don’t qualify for the government-funded services, said Milo Peinemann, chief strategy officer at New Directions for Veterans, a Los Angeles nonprofit.

The fact the Cohen clinics don’t have strict eligibility rules will enable them to reach an entire population of veterans who are currently being underserved, Peinemann said.

Over the past decade, community organizations have expanded physical and mental health care access for veterans. The Warrior Care Network, for example, is trying to fill gaps in government care through a partnership with four academic medical centers across the U.S.

Angel Ewers, 41, her husband, and their teenage children are being treated at the Cohen clinic in San Antonio. Ewers said her husband, who served in the Army, Air Force and the National Guard, tried to commit suicide nearly three years ago. Since then, he has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and seen numerous providers.

He didn’t have a good experience at the VA, Ewers said. “He felt like it was more, ‘Get him in, get him out,’” she said. “He was a number.”

Not having to pay for care at Cohen clinics is a “financial relief”, she said.

When possible, the clinics will bill insurance, said Anthony Hassan, president and CEO of the Cohen Veterans Network. But he noted that not all veterans and family members want their insurance companies to know they are seeking mental health treatment.

Providers across the network will strive to provide care that is based on proven best practices, said Ian Chuang, chief medical officer for Netsmart, a technology company that is tracking outcomes and supporting research at the Cohen clinics.

“The Cohen veteran clinics are trying to push the boundaries and say, ‘We need to do better,’” Chuang said. “We want to be part of figuring out what better means.”

The clinics are staffed by social workers, psychologists and students, including veterans. At the Los Angeles clinic, providers offer individual counseling, substance abuse treatment and psychiatric services. Staff members also connect families with other services, including transportation, housing and child care.

The clinic plans to open satellite centers around Los Angeles County and to collaborate with existing providers.

Partnering with a university and having the flexibility of private funds makes the L.A. clinic uniquely qualified to provide the best scientific treatment as it evolves, said Marvin Southard, the clinic’s CEO and former mental health director for L.A. County. “And it’s constantly evolving,” he said.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Family Endeavors Helps Vets and Their Families

The free Military Family Clinic in San Antonio focuses on serving the whole Veteran family, not just the Veteran.

|Nov. 23, 2016|

|San Antonio Express-News|

Three years ago, Michael Ewers saw the bathroom mirror was broken, and he knew his father needed help. John Ewers, a veteran, tried to kill himself in late 2013 and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Angel, and his four children struggled in the wake of his illness.

“I was pretty much trying to handle all that was going on with our home,” Angel Ewers said.

“I felt guilty, like I could have done something,” his daughter Hannah Ewers, 16, said.

“I didn’t want to think my parents could commit suicide,” Michael, now 18, said. “I just wanted to think everything could come back together.”

Since last year, the Ewers have been attending family counseling sessions at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, which offers free mental health care to veterans and their dependents. The clinic, operated in partnership with the San Antonio nonprofit Family Endeavors, also treats spouses and children exposed to second-hand trauma and work to repair marriages and parent-child relationships.

“When there is a traumatic event or something that happens to someone in a family, that impacts the entire family,” Travis Pearson, CEO of Family Endeavors, said.

“More and more veterans are openly expressing how their PTSD diagnosis have impacted their relationships with their spouses, partners and children,” Kat Cole, clinic director at the Cohen facility, said.

Sometimes, a veteran can come in for individual counseling, and then for marriage counseling, and then family counseling. The children, too, can receive individual counseling, Pearson said.

All of this is free, Pearson said. Family members can be defined how the veteran wants, and veterans are seen regardless of discharge status. The center also offers free services such as housing assistance, workshops, Uber rides to the clinic, and on-site child care.

Since opening the clinic in April, Family Endeavors in San Antonio has seen 342 veterans and family members for therapy, has housed 944 veterans and family members, and has brought 297 veterans and their families in for life skills workshops, according to numbers from the center.

Family Endeavors has already expanded since opening the clinic in April, Pearson said. It now runs about 120 sessions a week.

The first time the Ewers family attended a family session, they didn’t speak much, John Ewers said. John had gone to therapy before, but it was a new experience for his children.

“We were learning to talk to each other,” Angel recalled. “Our family, we keep it to ourselves, we don’t want to be a burden.”

John spent six years in the Army as a Bradley mechanic, which included one tour to Macedonia and one tour to Iraq in 2003-04. He then spent nine years in the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard, he said.

“I was just putting on a face, until I finally broke,” John said. “I didn’t want to deal with it all, but I couldn’t run away from myself.”

Speaking as a family allowed issues beneath the surface to rise up.

Leah, 19, told the family how she felt she had to be the big responsible sister after her father’s suicide attempt. Then, she buckled under the pressure, leaving home for a while and entering the wrong crowd, she said. Family counseling was the first time she told this to the family, she said.

“We had time to address issues with the family,” John Ewers said, “address it in a safe place, work together to come up with a resolution.”

Today, on the advice of their counselors, the family schedules meetings at their home where they talk.

“I don’t think people really think about how it affects other people in the family,” Angel said. “That’s why I appreciate Family Endeavors, they’re there for everyone, trying to make sure everyone’s needs are being met.”

“There’s been a vast improvement,” John Ewers said, “with my family, their individual needs are taken care of.”

Writer J.p. Lawrence can be reached at

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