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County expands program for veterans in criminal justice system

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday expanded a program for veterans in the criminal justice system.

Under the expansion, veterans in or recently released from jail will be involved in the county’s Community Care Coordination for Veterans plan, also known as C3V, which provides assistance with housing, employment support, vocational training, job placement, mental health and substance-use treatment to help veterans transition from jail to a successful life.

The program already exists as Veterans Moving Forward for veterans booked in the Vista Detention Center. The expansion will make the program countywide and will include veterans recently released from jail who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) will provide the care coordination services.

C3V was implemented in 2019. The previous year saw 637 veterans booked into county jails, and about 700 veterans were included the annual homeless count conducted last February.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said in a press conference Friday that he wanted the county to take more steps in solving veterans homelessness, including expanding the program at the Vista Detention Center.

He also called for a new county task force to address veterans homelessness and the creation of a plan to end homelessness among veterans within three months.

“This care coordination program will help prevent veterans from becoming homeless,” he said following the board’s approval of the C3V expansion. “It will provide them access to resources so they can get their life back on track. The folks who will use this program are skilled and trained individuals who made a mistake but are capable of being productive members of our community and we can help them do that by providing these services.”

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