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Veterans First

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

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.

Programs: To provide food, clothing, transportation, training and housing or housing reimbursements to disabled veterans.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Have you ever heard of the HIPPA regulations regarding client information?

1

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was David Gilbeau's case manager and this man would not follow the rules. He talks about drug and alcohol use because he was using and selling to other clients and when discovered, he was asked to leave the program! He is angry and revengeful because Veterans First would not allow him to continue his illegal activities. I worked there for over 5 years and I can tell you that this agency operates with compassion and understanding. They help veterans get employment, benefits and housing. I would still be there if my wife didn't want to move back East...I loved worked there with the staff and especially the veterans!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

Horrible. Staff and residents engage in illegal drug activity (dealers and users). Staff allow residents to use and sell. violence against residents, poor care, unsanitary conditions. residents that complain are retaliated against by staff and other residents (staff will ratt them out). Local police and government are in line with management and CEO to protect the organization over residents safety and health. A powerful group of folks with plenty of protection on the local, state and federal level. My friend and I both had to leave for our own protection and safety after assaults and threats from staff and residents following requests to resolve illegal drug activity (staff using and selling to residents - residents usinng and selling to residents).

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

1 Bill31

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.

Guy J.

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I have been to Veterans First offices and one of their houses for Veterans, They are both very nice and offer a lot of services to the Veteran;s that they serve.
And you wont find another more caring individual than Deanne Tate.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Veterans First is a true grass roots organization operating on a shoe string in Orange County. This organization steps up and helps at need/at risk veterans throughout the county. Services provided include homeless shelters, employment advise and training, meals. Veterans First also lead the way in establishing the first ever Orange County Veterans Standdowm.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Those at Veterans First are a blessing to our Veteran community. They are on the front lines doing amazing work. There are those who talk their walk, and those who walk their talk and Veterans First certainly walks their talk. You can separate people into two basic groups, the talkers and takers and the giver's and doers and if you want to help our Veterans donate to Veterans First.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Veterans first is an organization that helps veterans. As a Vet in business i had been looking for an organization that helps Vets so that I could give back to my brother and sister vets who need a helping hand.

For the past two years i have assisted in the OC Stand Down. What a worthwhile challenge.

Well organized and the feeling I got after the three days, was while i was tired, i felt we did something Great for our Vets who need a hand.

Veterans first I salute you.

John Hacker
Combat Veteran
US Army

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm honored to be a part of this fantastic organization for the last 19 years. The staff, the Broad of Directors and particularly the Veterans are terrific to work with and I hope not to be here another 19 years due to the fact that there are no more homeless veterans!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Veterans First sponsored the 2012 Orange County Stand Down in Costa Mesa in August. As a volunteer at this event it was reassuring to know that someone is working to help our veterans in need. 173 homeless veterans and 30 family members received services over the 3-day event that they would not otherwise have had access to. Many of our veterans are in need of help and through organizations like Veterans First our heroes have hope of turning their lives around and once again being self-sufficient. Get our veterans off the street and back on their feet.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Veterans First in Orange County, CA is a wonderful organization helping homeless veterans with services and housing. My family helped serve Thanksgiving Day again this as we have for the past 3 years. Every time we volunteer we are very pleased that the staff and clients are so appreciative for our help.