Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


VA, MTS partner to serve homeless veterans at trolley stations

Veterans Affairs and MTS are partnering in San Diego to help veterans in the homeless community connect with services. KPBS military and veterans reporter Andrew Dyer has more.

Veterans Affairs in San Diego and MTS launched a partnership Friday in a new effort to bring services to veterans in the homeless community.

At the Old Town Transit Center, representatives from the VA helped veterans enroll in VA healthcare and connect to other services. The VA's Mobile Medical Unit — a large van outfitted with medical equipment — offered veterans medical exams from the unit's primary care team.

Janice McDonald, a clinical social worker with the VA's homeless outreach program, said it makes sense to partner with MTS.


"They have a big homeless outreach program, too, and they're looking for providers," McDonald said. "We just thought it would be a perfect union ... you have the trolley right here. They get off, they walk 15 feet and they have medical care."

Other community organizations were also on hand to help people in the homeless community—not just veterans. Miguel Gonzalez oversees MTS' homeless outreach team and said he wants people to know that MTS can also connect them with services.

"What we like to do is provide the warm hand-off," Gonzalez said. "So, if we meet an individual that needs assistance — whether it's for the VA or maybe they're not veterans — we want to be able to contact that resource and provide them a good connection so they can get that help."

The partnership runs through October and will rotate monthly between three trolley stations — Old Town, El Cajon and the Palomar Street station in Chula Vista.