[Diana Hall Interview]
Story by Alyssa Nishek
Photography provided by CRRC
This month, our featured non-profit organization is new to the community. North Dakota opened it’s first-ever Veterans Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) in Fargo last August. After years of planning, the fully equipped facility is located near the downtown area at 721 1st Ave. N. The CRRC serves as a resource center for Veterans facing various needs, from homelessness, poverty, physical and mental health concerns, to life course assistance.
The facility provides on-staff social workers, showers, laundry, emergency food baskets, and an emergency clothing closet. A primary care medical team is on-site 20 hours a week to assist with medical and/or psychiatric needs of veterans on a schedule or walk-in basis. A computer lab will soon complete the array of resources available at the CRRC.
Diana Hall is the Program Manager at the Fargo VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Hall is a veteran herself, having served in Germany as a Military Police Officer on a NATO anti-terrorist team. After leaving the service she came to North Dakota to attend college and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Dakota.
Hall’s grandparents struggled with homelessness and at one point sought refuge in an empty grain silo, where Hall’s mother was born. Her family’s history, along with her background as a veteran, have motivated her to serve veterans facing similar issues in modern day society.
In addition, Hall oversees Project HART, a Fargo-based facility that the VA contracted with Center Inc. Project HART is a 30-bed facility that provides long-term transitional housing for veterans, as well as case management. Veterans can stay for up to two years at Project HART.
The Fargo VA also contracts beds at Churches United for the Homeless, where a Veterans Room is located, providing short-term emergency shelter for veterans in need. Their goal with each facility is to provide immediate shelter with long-term stable housing as the final outcome.
Through a program called HUD-VASH, an acronym for the partnership between Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Administration Supported Housing, approximately 275 permanent housing vouchers are located across the state. They can be found in cities including Williston, Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, and Grand Forks. These vouchers are similar to a Section 8 voucher, in which the Veteran pays 30 percent of their income in rent, and the VA pays the remaining portion of rent, while providing case management indefinitely. The VA recently also launched programs for homeless Tribal Veterans on both the White Earth and Turtle Mountain reservations.
Hall emphasized the CRRC as a place for veterans to come if they are homeless, at risk of homelessness or living in poverty, but also encourages any Veteran to stop in if they are uncertain of their VA eligibility or have questions about how to get their needs met. With safety precautions in place, the CRRC has been able to keep their doors open through the pandemic. Masks are required to enter the facility and body temperature is taken with a forehead thermometer to ensure a safe environment.
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