If I could give this nonprofit a negative star I would. To anyone considering donating to this charity please reconsider. This organization treats veterans poorly and is more concerned about $$$$ than providing real help to vets. Specifically I'm referring to U.S. Vets Long Beach.
The executive director is about as disconnected as possible from what's going on here as can be and that is the way she likes it. Recently, the program director was fired for embezzling funds but not prosecuted because U.S. Vets was worried about the bad publicity it would receive if the incident were to become known to the public. In addition, the same person was sexually harassing other employees for the longest time without any fear of consequences or punishment.
In a day and age when non-profits are supposed to be as transparent as ever, U.S. Vets Long Beach makes none of its policies or guidelines available to the public or to the veterans it claims to serve.
DO NOT DONATE TO THIS CHARITY, IT"S DISHONEST, SCANDALOUS, AND ABSENT OF ANY REAL LEADERSHIP.
Although I would not use the vocabulary as the reviewer REXX4411 did in his review of this charity I must agree with his assessment of U.S. Vets Long Beach.
I too am a veteran client residing at the Long Beach location and I'm currently in the SILS Program. I must agree with REXX4411 , most of the US Vets employees, our case managers, are lazy and do the very minimum for the clients here. Most of the time it take some prodding for these people to do their jobs and it shouldn't be that way.
The food here is pretty bad I must admit and some of the other veterans living here are dirty and unsanitary. However, staff here does very little to ensure the living quarters are clean and remain clean and this is probably because they get to go home every night.
There is no security on the property and people do use drugs and alcohol in public view on a fairly regularly basis with no fear. Kids and pets run wild with no discipline from parents or owners and this bothers me and the other older vets this I know. Complaints go unanswered by staff and management comes across as very disconnected when it comes to maintaining a pulse of what's going on here. Staff and management talk a good game when it comes to caring about vets here but they certainly don't walk the walk.
This website Great Nonprofits seems OK enough but I wonder why more reputable charity-related websites such as Charity Navigator and Charity Watch are not referenced and studied by potential donors before contributing? Per Charity Navigator: This organization is not eligible to be rated by Charity Navigator because, as a service for individual givers, we only rate organizations that depend on support from individual contributors and foundations. Organizations such as this, that get most of their revenue from the government or from program services, are therefore not eligible to be rated. Visit the Methodology section of our site to learn about our criteria for evaluating charities.
US Vets claims on its website that $.88 of every dollar donated goes directly to veteran services but this is very deceiving. Charities often try to encourage donations by making claims related to how much they spend on the programs that support their mission. This makes sense, especially for charities that can tout a high percentage of program spending, since studies show that donors prefer giving to charities that spend considerably more on programs than on fundraising and general administrative functions. The trouble is that there are a few ways that program percentages can be misleading, and one of the ways is when charities claim that a certain portion of every dollar "donated" goes to programs, when in actuality, the percentage cited is the portion of every dollar "spent" that goes to programs. Follow me here folks please....................
.........The basic difference in claiming "every dollar donated" versus "every dollar spent" is that in the first case, the program percentage is based on the ratio of program spending relative to the charity's inflow of total donations while in the second case, it is based on the ratio of program spending relative to the charity’s outflow of total expenses. Those two ratios will yield different (sometimes vastly different) percentages almost all of the time, with the exception being in rare circumstances where a charity raises only unrestricted donations that are equal to (or almost equal to) its total expenses for the year.
I would be very willing to bet this claim by U.S. Vets in inaccurate and possible flat out WRONG! I suggest any potential donors do some serious homework before even thinking about donating to this place because in my opinion this charity is not as advertised. I make this claim based on the many problems and issues I've encountered here at US Vets Long Beach. No outside independent third party audits this charity's books and we all know how creative and nonsensical a CPA can be when it comes to preparing tax returns for a paying client.
I'm going to find REXX4411 and compare experiences with him because this place needs to be held accountable for its work, something that is not being done currently. We're going to call US Vets out as being bush if that's what's needed and make sure some bright lights shine on areas here where they presently don't. If the board of directors here is found to be inactive and complacent in terms of making this charity the very best it should be when it comes to taking care of veterans who proudly served this great nation, these folks can get on down the road because we're not putting up with this $*#%@ any further.
America's veterans deserve a hell of a lot better than this!
I am currently a homeless veteran and client living at U.S. Vets Long Beach and I've been here for over two months. I read a review from a female vet which was posted in November, 2013. She cited the many problem this placed had at the time and was completely accurate and honest in her blasting of this non-profit. NOTHING HAS CHANGED HERE AT U.S. VETS LONG BEACH! It's still a mess and a terrible non-profit organization, do not be fooled by these fabricated feel good reviews. I'm in the VIP Program currently. The U.S. Vets staff here is terrible and that might explain why turnover among its employees is so incredibly high. Good people begin work here but do not stay long. I've been told by numerous U.S. Vets employees the reason they left was because they despised the way this place treats veterans. I couldn't agree with them more. This place could care less about helping veterans all it cares about is keeping beds full so it can get as much money as possible. Vets here are treated terribly by not only U.S. Vets employees but VA employees too. Housing in the VIP Program is horrible. The houses are filthy and at least one (29-2) is infested with roaches. The food in the cafeteria is awful too. Employees are rude and act like they don't want to be here. U.S Vets gets a lot of free help at its Long Beach location by bringing in temporary employees for 10 month periods who are paid by the county. Rules are NEVER enforced around this place they're only posted for show. Clients use drugs and alcohol around here all over the place with no fear of punishment. Clients bring pets in here and they run wild as if this is a dog park. Management here is spineless and allows people to do whatever they want, it's a joke but not a very funny one I can assure you that. VA staff in the VVRC harass clients they don't like and treat them badly! The integrity of both U.S. Vets staff and VA employees is suspect too. My VA social worker encouraged me to file a false disability claim for hearing loss and actually did it for me. I never even saw what he wrote in the claim nor did I sign it what's up with that? Please don't wonder why the VA is as messed up as it is when you have things like this going on. Complaints to the VA OIG go unanswered and nothing but lip service is given to legitimate complaints received by management here. The US Vets website is not working half the time. Just yesterday I tried to utilize the email contact function on the US Vets website but it was broken so I couldn't send an email. The contact employees listed on the U.S. Vets website for Long Beach are long gone and this information is antiquated to say the very least. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANYTHING HERE!!!!!! Believe me when I tell you this. I recently had a very valid complaint brought to the attention of the executive director here and she failed miserably in her handling of it so I had to contact Congressman Lowenthal to get anything done. When vets here have to go to our congressman to get something done that speaks volumes about this place and none of it good. If you doubt what I say come down here and talk to some clients yourself you will find I am not embellishing anything. Everything I say here is absolutely true! U.S. Vets Long Beach uses its non-profit status to lead the public to believe it's doing a lot of good things for our veterans when in fact it is not. How the executive director here keeps her job is beyond me perhaps the board of directors could answer that? The second in charge here was recently dismissed for "doing things he should not have" is what clients here were told. This place gets a big fat "F" when it comes to taking care of veterans that is for sure! THERE IS A LOT WRONG WITH THIS PLACE THAT IS A FACT!
My name is Daniel. I am a landlord in Phoenix AZ.
I've dealt with United States Veterans Initiative to help place two veterans in units in my complex. I won't say that the service was flawless, but there was never a doubt in my mind that the staff at USVI in PHX was dedicated to the achievement of securing housing for the vets. The two tenants I now have as a result have been models. They are honest, hard working, and respectful residents in our community
My name is Andrew, I am a Vietnam War veteran. I was homeless for three years due to a number of circumstances and bad choices. For many years I couldn’t find my footing in the world, dealing with PTSD and Combat Trauma I was self-medicating, using drugs and alcohol to cope with the madness in my head and ended up in prison. While in prison I heard about U.S.VETS – Inland Empire and made the decision that I was going to U.S. Vets. While in prison I wrote to Mr. Estrada to let him know I would like to enter U.S.VETS – Inland Empire and was greeted by him when I was dropped off at the March Air Force site in February 2015. Mr. Estrada spent the time to encourage me to follow through with the program and I did.
I entered U.S. Vets – Inland Empire in 2015 for their substance abuse treatment track and completed the program in 90 days. Subsequently I went through the Veterans in Progress program where I was able to increase my cash income. The VIP program assisted me in getting my service connection re-instated, keeping my substance abuse under control, and kept me on track and on time for all my VA appointments and court appearances. After a couple months in VIP I was approved and placed into the U.S. Vets C.H.A.M.P.S program for chronically homeless and disabled veterans. I now have my life together and things are going great.
Today I am living in a beautiful apartment and I have control over my destiny.
Review from Guidestar
Exceptional organization. Committed to serving our heroes with the honor and respect they deserve.
Review from Guidestar
U.S. Vets is an awesome organization. For 8 years we have had the honor and privilege to provide our heroes with nutritious meals. Let me tell you it has been such a joy. To see our veterans fall on hard times is one thing but to see them fall on a great organization like the U.S Vets is such an awesome feeling. Day after day we see a lot of our friends leave and become independent again. That is why we love this organization so much. The help they provide and more importantly the changes in our veterans faces when they can stand on their own again. We often forget about these peoples sacrifices they have made for us and it is such a relief and joy knowing that they too have heroes at u.s vets who genuinly care for them. To all my friends at u.s vets I want to say thank you! Hats off to you all for your service and help that you all provide. Remember that you all are heroes just like the people you folks help and protect. Mahalo and kamaaina catering will always hold the U.S Vets close and dear to our hearts. We love you all.
Review from Guidestar
US Vets Las Vegas is an amazing organization for which I am thrilled to be able to serve as the Co-Chair for the Advisory Council. I have been working with US Vets for over ten (10) years and am so proud to see the amazing accomplishments they have made in reducing veteran homelessness in the Las Vegas valley. Through their many programs, they have been able to bring renewed confidence to our veteran population. The men and women who have served our country deserve the world and the very least we can do is to ensure that they have a roof over their heads. They have given their lives to our country and we are so lucky to be able to serve them in return. I can't imagine Las Vegas without an organization like US Vets and feel fortunate every day to be able to help by serving as an Advisory Council member.
Review from Guidestar
As a long-time volunteer and donor at U.S.VETS – Pai’olu Kaiaulu at the Waianae Civic Center, I have first-hand knowledge of the tireless work that the staff members perform in service to the thousands of veteran and non-veteran individuals and families with children that they have served since March 2007. My main areas of volunteer service range from assisting with preparing and serving the annual Christmas brunch to helping staff at the annual Hana Like Kakou (Many Hands Working Together), benefit dinner.
I take great pride in assisting this very worthwhile cause, not only as a retired member of the U.S. Coast Guard, but because I can rest assured that the donations received are used as intended for the benefit of the individuals and families with children who call Pai’olu Kaiaulu home, and that the donations further U.S.VETS’ mission in service to others.
I have been a volunteer and monetary donor since 2007 and don’t plan to stop any time soon!
Review from Guidestar
As a professional consultant who has worked closely with Hawaii's homeless population as a member of Partners In Care, Hawaii’s Coalition of Homeless Providers, I have seen first hand the impact that U.S.VETS has made in the State of Hawaii. U.S.VETS is continually fulfilling their mission of serving veterans and non-veterans by providing housing, training, and a myriad of other services to thousands of individuals in Hawaii.
Because I believe in the mission, the reputation, and the service to others, I have personally donated to the U.S.VETS Waianae program through participation in their annual Bowl-a-Thon and annual fundraising dinner.
It has been easy to give to an organization knowing that each donation makes a difference in someone’s life.
Review from Guidestar
I am a U.S. Navy veteran who fought in Operation Desert Storm. I proudly served from 1980-1990.
What happened in my life that brought me to U.S.VETS – Long Beach was a 25 year battle with PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, homelessness, unemployability, loneliness, and an otherwise empty and miserable life.
Today, as a direct result of U.S.VETS – Long Beach, I am sober, although for only a short time (31 days) but for me it is very significant. I have the essential necessities required to live such as food and shelter, and I also have some fundamental things that greatly affect quality of life such as companionship, support, respect, usefulness, hope, etc.
U.S.VETS – Long Beach helped by providing services such as case management, community service, transitional housing, financial support for vital documents, etc.
Since coming to U.S.VETS - Beach, I have changed in significant ways. My physical and mental health has markedly improved due to proper nutrition, medication compliance, and one-on-one therapy. I have a warm, comfortable bed to sleep in and a roof over my head that I will never take for granted. My outlook has been revitalized from hopelessness to optimism. My future has changed from dim to bright.
On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating, I would rate U.S.VETS as 5.
Review from Guidestar
While working in the veterans field in Washington, DC, and dealing with education, employment, and veteran homelessness issues, I’ve come in contact with numerous organizations that assist veterans and their families. At the top of my list of organizations that are truly passionate in helping homeless veterans successfully reintegrate back into mainstream society, is U.S.VETS. I've always known them to be caring and professional, while providing quality programs and services to the homeless veteran community. I have built a relationship with the U.S.VETS Washington, DC, location, where several times I've referred homeless and at-risk veterans to that site. They always managed to assist those veterans with financial assistance and housing in a welcoming environment.
Additionally, I’m quite familiar with the circle of advocates for the homeless veteran community in DC, and often attend workshops and conferences – where I recognized that U.S.VETS staff are present – looking to learn, inform and network with other individuals, organizations and stakeholders, to better serve the homeless veteran community in the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia area. As I’ve interacted and cultivated relationships with U.S.VETS leadership and their dedicated staff, I come to realize why there are the largest nonprofit of comprehensive services for homeless and at-risk veterans in the country. Quality leadership and client care is vitally important to the ultimate success of an organization – U.S.VETS has that in abundance. This is an organization that is respected nationwide, and one that is looked upon as a template for community service providers as how to effectively assist homeless veterans and their families. I’m proud to be associated with U.S.VETS. Keep up the excellent work.
Review from Guidestar
I am currently a resident at U.S.VETS-St. Louis and I have been here for a little over two years. I have absolutely enjoyed my time here. The staff is more than friendly and more than willing to work through issues with everyone in order to resolve barriers to obtain independence. I would strongly recommend a veteran to the St. Louis site. Being here has helped me obtain a better perspective and become more self-efficient in everyday living. I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent here. Thank you current U.S.VETS-St. Louis staff for everything.
Review from Guidestar
I am not a veteran or a board member of U.S.VETS. I manage a manufacturing company in St. Louis Missouri and my company is a supporter of U.S.VETS, Inc. and especially U.S.VETS St. Louis. We have hired vets from U.S.VETS and will continue to do so. Bill Wallace - my cousin - is a special person that is tireless in his devotion to assisting veterans. His enthusiasm is infectious and has helped my colleagues get behind our company's support for U.S.VETS.
Our company has numerous causes that it can, and is asked to support. We have chosen to work with U.S.VETS (Bill Wallace and Charlie Felker in particular) for all the right reasons, but also because of the professional interaction we have experienced. We believe that private industry has the keys to supporting veteran causes and should do so. We're very proud of U.S.VETS and their role in our community.
Prism Medical USA, Inc.
Review from Guidestar
US Vets is an organization that does amazing works. My company and I have donated to them for the past 4 years. We have participated in their events and have volunteered to help out at the facility in Hawaii. The work they do is so needed. I wish that one day US Vets goes out of business. That would mean that no veteran that has served their country will be on the streets that they protected. Until that day though, we will continue to support this amazing organization! Mahalo to Darryl Vincent, Dr. Kim Cook and their staff for all they do. Keep up the great work!
Review from Guidestar
As a Past Department Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Department of Nevada. For the last ten years U.S. Vets Las Vegas has become one of our major partners. After many visits to their facility and speaking to many of the veterans that U.S. Vets have taken off the streets I have yet to hear one negative response. These once homeless veterans are now receiving shelter, food, clothing and education to ready them to hold down a job and become a productive citizen. An absolute wonderful orgniization under the very capable leadership of Director Shalimar Cabrera.
Ed Kranson, PC, PDC
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Department of Nevada
Review from Guidestar
As a volunteer and advisory board member, I see this organization living its mission of helping veterans everyday in Houston, Texas. Donations are used to assist veterans in job training, educational opportunities, on-site mental health counselors (to assist hundreds of veterans in a housing complex), housing assistance and other needs. Donations are also used to hire veterans as employees for U.S. Vets. Veterans are the counselors, administrators, etc., so your donations are used to cover administrative costs by hiring veterans to help veterans. While I am not a veteran (daughter of a veteran), I am extremely proud to give to this organization knowing that it is committed to changing veterans' lives for the better in Houston!!
Review from Guidestar
I experienced the important work of this organization during a Veterans Day dinner at one of their facilities where I was able to serve meals to Veterans. The Veterans in the program seemed very positive, upbeat and were grateful for the support of this organization.
Review from Guidestar
Well, there is much that I would like to say about this organization's quality of services provided to women vets but my experience falls within the context of women veteran programming at the Long Beach site. Most of my experience with the staff/ administrators of the entire organization left a very negative imprint. There were many acts of negligence, illegal activity, and nepotism on the part of employees throughout the entire structure (corporate & regional). As I would not like to mar the reputation of people who do good work with their hearts in the right place, I must commend the work at the Las Vegas site. But most assuredly, there was an overwhelming amount of deceit, negligence and incompetence with the long-time/ long term employees in administrative, clinical, and day-to-day positions at Long Beach & Inglewood. I can second the comments made on 11/17/13 as far as the amount of danger and insecurity women veterans were exposed to AWP, HVRP, & RENEW. Women vets were treated like children and there was no education-based interpersonal or recovery model used when working with women with dual diagnoses, addiction, and combat-related PTSD, MST in the ADVANCE program. It was my impression that the system did not have any educational or research-based components (except for services rendered by the VA) and basically "felt ok" winging the housing/ employment components because most of the women were at their lowest point (in cognitive/ adaptive functioning) and very afraid of standing up for themselves because of their disenfranchised/ traumatic histories. Many safety concerns were overlooked. Personal items were not safe in homes and at that time, Long Beach did not allow for door locks, yet house managers could barge in on tenants (without notice) or rummage through their belongings at any time. At the time I was associated with Long Beach, it got so bad that the women could not comfortably store food items without the risk of having it tampered so they basically stored everything in their cars/ storage units as a precaution. Furthermore, hygiene items (purchased by the organization) and donations received by concerned community members tended to stockpile in closets & storage units until house supervisors/ case managers took possession of it and bandied about to other department staff (kitchen, employment, and administrative staff). In the past, management turned a blind eye to this type of illegal activity and covered it up by saying they would do something about it. It became very difficult for those of us who waited on those changes in good faith and never saw them implemented. Aside from the exaggerated amount of illegal activity & safety violations in the homes, food was cooked in extremely unhealthy ways. Many of veterans served have dietary restrictions but nothing was done (at the time) to change that problem or make better use of the food served. Another key problem within the US VETS organization, was the Nepotism that appeared to be "status quo" in several departments, between: (1) managers (and managers, and /or staff); (2) case managers and veteran clients (of same or opposite sex); and (3) co-workers. With professional boundaries blurred and little regard for ethical conduct, it became very easy to leave the good intentions of a few and overall mission of the organization. It is refreshing to know that new management in Long Beach has attempted to eradicate such breaches of trust & professionalism (that pervade in this organization). However, it is very difficult for me to believe that things that have gone on to this degree & since its inception will be eradicated at its core. I do wish you the best of luck in your efforts.
This organization has major problems. I was affiliated with them for 2 years as a female veteran receiving PTSD/MST services at VA Long Beach. They house females in unlocked, unguarded houses in a questionable environment. I saw several OEF/OIF female veterans leave because they just couldn't handle the unsafe environment. When I first arrived as the facility there was a coordinator with a Ph.D. When I left there wasn't a PhD or Masters to be found on the Advance Women's Program (They chased off two highly qualified counselors with their questionable treatment of female veterans.) Most classes were poorly planned and delivered, often cancelled...except on paper. They are NOT handicapped "friendly." The case managers have a rep for lying to female vets to get them in. They house civilian females with military female vets and treat them as one and the same. They have been reported to the VA OIG several times with changes taking place for short durations...perhaps long enough to say they made them. Even some of the VA Inspectors have had misgivings about this organizations functioning. Although the VA provides them with a large amount of funding they (the VA) assume no responsibility for how veterans are supported or cared for. For over a year the food was deplorable. Numerous complaints were made...nothing done. They had problems staffing the kitchen when it was discovered that employees there were fraudulently completing paperwork for court-ordered community service people. In my opinion this organization is poorly run and it appears the needs of female veterans are not viewed as important enough to address. For a long period items donated for veterans were going home with staff...untaxed benefits for them, nil for vets...just prior to my leaving they stopped accepting donated items at Long Beach. Veterans who are receiving public assistance are required to "pay" what US Vets call "program fees." And, no, I wasn't one of them but I WAS appalled they were permitted to do this.
As the executive director of U.S VETS-Long Beach, I would like to address some of the concerns raised in the November 17, 2013 post. First, it is unfortunate the reviewer had a negative experience as a client in our ADVANCE Women’s Program. Every homeless female veteran who enters our program does so with different expectations as they address challenging issues such as substance abuse, PTSD, military sexual trauma, unemployment, etc. Our goal is to effectively assist each woman in a manner that restores dignity and confidence while providing them with the necessary tools to move forward in their life. Most of the time we are effective in our efforts, but not always. Consequently, we are always trying to improve by offering better training to staff, re-evaluating the effectiveness of our programs, etc. These improvements include some of the issues raised by the reviewer. For instance, this past year we added several safety measures including a key pad entry system, upgraded door and window security and increased staffing during the evening (despite the absence of a specific security threat to our clients). We have recently retained a new Clinical Director who holds a Psy.D with over 15 years of experience as well as a Clinical Supervisor in the Women’s Program. Our relationship with the Veteran’s Administration has never been better as they have supported all of our program upgrades during my first 14 months as director. Lastly, food quality is highly important to our clients. A little over a year ago we retained a new Kitchen Manager who has reduced food complaints to near zero, a feat that is difficult to attain anywhere. U.S. VETS is proud of our Women’s Program and realizes there is always room for improvement. We welcome any and all comments on ways we can better serve our valued female veterans. Posted on behalf of Jim Hansen Executive Director U.S.VETS - Long Beach