Veterans First

Rating: 4.76 stars   17 reviews

Issues: Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Veterans

Location: 1548 West First St Suite A Santa Ana CA 92703 USA

Mission: Veterans First is the only social service agency exclusively dedicated to ending homelessness among veterans, who, according to Department of Housing and Urban Development Statistics, comprise 38% of the Homeless Population. Veterans First has a sheltered workshop that exclusively employs both homeless and disabled veterans. We also provide clothing, food boxes and serve nourishing hot meals daily, year round. The homeless men and women we support suffer from physical, mental, emotional and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is sometimes manifested through drug or alcohol addiction. We offer a comprehensive program based on a traditional work ethic that is dedicated to end homelessness for those who have decided to change their lives. Veteran by veteran we are removing the homeless from the streets, eliminating their hunger and providing transitional housing in a home environment. Veterans First also provides the veterans with both employment and job training. Our five-year goal is to reduce to less than ten percent, the number of homeless veterans in Orange County, California.

2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I was on the edge of becoming homeless. I sold my car the year before to help pay for two months of rent. For the first three months of 2014 I was stressed out every day, trying to find a way to pay my monthly rent. I knew Vets First served lunch at their Santa Ana Blvd. location. Being a veteran, I had no Idea they provided so many great services.
Karen was so passionate, and extremely helpful. I asked the staff about rental assistance, and to my amazement they scheduled me an appointment with Cruz. Within two weeks he helped me with long term housing and prepared meals.
Wow! I can now focus on fulltime employment, and becoming independent once again.
The best non-profit I have ever seen!! They are truly passion focused!

Michael K. - Santa Ana, CA.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would recommend higher salaries for all of the fulltime staff, at the Santa Ana office.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I don't know who luv4vets is but I can only imagine it is someone that we asked not to return as a volunteer and is very bitter. Veterans First and our staff are a wonderful group of people of which 90% are veterans providing incredible care to homeless, disabled and returning veterans and their families. The slanderous lies that luv4vets wrote about saying that Deanne Tate was fired in 2000 for mismanagement is an absolute lie. Go to the Santa Ana courthouse and pull the records where you will find that she was falsely accused and won an out of court settlement for wrongful termination. The only family working there is her son that has earned his place and receives kudos from other service providers about the wonderful job he is doing. As for her yelling this is the biggest falsehood of all...Deanne works in a private office and seldom ventures out to the other parts of the agency. Any conversations with staff is done behind closed doors and yelling is not part of it. It is very sad that a person using the name luv4vets would write such ugly things about such a terrific agency.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

The Santa Ana Police Foundation had a need for immediate help to assist a homeless veteran that was the victim of a crime in our city. Quickly it became apparent that significant professional assistance was required. Veterans' First immediately stepped up and was a significant partner in making efforts to assist this troubled gentleman. Deann Tate was available to us at any time, and Her staff was professional and helped us make tough decisions. This organization is top-notch, and we unequivocally endorse your support of them.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Veterans First is very organized and keeps you updated on all information needed to volunteer for their events and other health, support, career assistance and family services they offer to Veterans.
I was very proud to be of service to those Veterans who have served our country and look forward to any assistance I can provide to those dedicated to our Veterans.
The appreciation from our Veterans that attended was an unforgetable experience and worth every minute being apart of this opportunity that I would have not been able to be a part of without the continued efforts Veterans First.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

In my official capacity of Commander of UMAVA (a veterans organization), I have been closely involved with Veterans First of OC both as a Volunteer and as an Advisor for several years. Veterans First is an organization managed by very passionate, dedicated and talented individuals. Unfortunately, theirs is a very necessary and critical service in bringing services directly to veterans, or in bringing itself to the homeless veterans that may not trust the system. No other agency or organization can match Veteran First in its life-changing impact: from identifying the homeless veterans or the veterans with families and at-immediate-risk-of-homelessness, assessing their needs, and responding to those needs immediately. Veterans First is also unique in having a proven program in place to address the immediate emergency, and then to In-process the veteran to self-sustainability and long-term success. Veterans First has a a multiplier effect with every dollar invested, and more could be done, But the lack of financial resources is still a challenge.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a former Board member for Veterans First, and I have been providing pro-bono Paralegal services to the Veterans First clients since 2004. Without exception, the Officers and Staff of Veterans First have always impressed me with their professionalism, dedication, and heartfelt empathy for the plight of Orange County's homeless Veterans, I have been proud and more than happy to make my contribution to the success of Veterans First, like all of us I owe a debt to those who put their lives on the line for my safety and security which can never be totally repaid.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This non-profit is one of the only ones I've come across that deals specifically with Veterans and their families. I was impressed with how much they do: anywhere from housing to showers and food, employment, benefits, etc! Being here was exciting, busy, and rewarding! I loved it!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

The impact Veterans First is having is evident by the progress the Veterans(clients) are making, from being homeless to stability where they have the ability to better themselves with education or job placement. The Veterans have the comfort knowing they have a roof over their head and three meals a day, give peace of mind and the focus to pursue the American dream. Veterans First also provides pass out food bags every Tuesday and Friday to Vets and their families while providing a lunch meal at the service center.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Veterans First is an effective, viable and extremely dedicated grass-roots organization that has developed from a dream to an effective reality impacting the lives of challenged and vulnerable men and women who has served our county. As a volunteer at the 2011 and 2012 Orange County Stand Down events, I have witnessed outreach in the areas of medical and dental treatment, job placement assistance, legal aid referrals, social services, housing opportunities and most importantly, the establishing of on-going relationships between Veterans First and the veterans themselves in a manner that is dignified, respectful, helpful and filled with gratitude for each individual. As the word about this organization continues to get out among the vets, the benefits to many, including our communities, will grow by leaps and bounds.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Veterans First is a highly professional organization with the Veteran foremost in their minds. Their handling of the Orange County Veterans Stand Down was superb. This is a first class organization.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?