|Our therapeutic community helps veterans with everything from substance abuse recovery to family reunification to benefit advocacy.
New Directions, Inc., a licensed, long-term drug and alcohol treatment program founded by formerly homeless veterans, has provided food, shelter, support and rehabilitation to clients since 1992. The agency provides services to more than 600 veterans each year through its outreach program and at five different residential treatment centers:
- The 156-bed Veteran Opportunity Center (VOC) includes a program for veterans with both a substance abuse disorder and a mental illness.
- 24-bed emergency shelter and detoxification center
- The 50-person capacity Veteran Opportunity Center North program for veterans with both substance abuse disorders and mental illness
- The New Directions Oasis for Veteran Women consisting of Keaveney House and Mitchell House, providing residential care to female veterans.
- Chris's Place, New Directions' transitional residence for returning veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF).
New Directions' "therapeutic community" promotes a strong work ethic, skills-learning, personal accountability, economic self-reliance, family responsibility, community involvement, and good citizenship. Sobriety, long-term recovery, and employment are the basis for client stability and permanent housing. New Directions offers:
Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
- In Phase I, during their first 6 months, residents first undergo detoxification, then intensive substance abuse treatment, professional group and individual counseling, and supervised medication.
- In Phase II, residents continue their recovery from drugs and alcohol, and strengthen their skills in preparation for employment. Parenting, anger management, and communication skills are also stressed.
Vocational Assessment and Training
- Every Phase I resident at the Veteran Opportunity Center (VOC) receives an assessment of educational abilities by an on-site Los Angeles Unified School District Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructor. A Test for Adult Basic Education measures language arts and math skills. Students with grade equivalencies of 8th grade or below receive classes and tutoring.
- In Phase II, residents’ vocational skills are assessed and a plan is developed.
- All residents receive computer training.
- New Directions offers job training in culinary arts, construction management, customer service, computer applications, and Human Services.
- Participants meet with New Directions’ vocational staff for interview preparation and job search guidance.
- After participants obtain employment, they remain at New Directions for an additional 3-6 months to save money for first and last month’s rent.
Housing Placement Assistance
- Participants receive legal services and representation necessary to obtain jobs and to retain them. As homeless veterans with substance abuse problems, many residents have fallen far behind in their child support payments. Because wage garnishment can effectively remove any income, New Directions’ attorney meets with the assistant district attorney who enforces child support laws, and explains the veteran’s predicament. Together, they try to stipulate to an affordable payment plan so the veteran can make payments.
- New Directions’ attorney helps resolve outstanding warrants and other legal problems that might hamper a resident’s ability to obtain employment.
Operation Welcome Home
- Participants receive help finding permanent housing appropriate for their needs, enabling staff to more easily stay in touch.
- New Directions maintains an active search for housing of all kinds; works with appropriate housing authorities to find subsidized, affordable, and other specialized housing; helps residents complete rental and credit applications; and places clients in an appropriate homes.
New Directions' newest program offers outpatient services and support as well as transitional housing to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). Services include:
- Veteran Benefits Advocacy
- Family Reunification Support
- Separation/Transition Assistance
- Help with Legal Issues
- Counseling and Therapy
- Substance Abuse Management
- Mental Health Support
Transitional housing for OEF/OIF veterans is provided at Chris's Place, a six-bedroom residence in the Del Rey area of West Los Angeles.
- Even after participants leave, New Directions maintains regular communication with them to improve their chances of continued recovery and employment ("Aftercare").
- Participants are asked to attend weekly Aftercare meetings for a minimum of 90 days and to join the New Directions Alumni group for at least a year.
- Alumni participation enables New Directions to gather long-term data on graduates, honor their achievements in sobriety and employment, assist them in adapting to the work environment, provide additional job market resources, identify warning signs of substance abuse relapse, and provide intervention.
- To access the Last House on the Block, NDI's social networking site for alumni, click here.