NHS Fresh Start

NHS Fresh Start housing and supportive service programs for adult men and women were developed to work with individuals with a history of homelessness, chemical dependency, and/or varying degrees of behavioral health issues. NHS Fresh Start is currently operating 265 housing beds and supportive services in partnership with the Philadelphia and Coatesville VA Medical Centers and the Philadelphia Office of Addiction Services (OAS). In addition, NHS Fresh Start provides transitional and permanent "self-pay" housing options. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, NHS Fresh Start also offers veterans’ mobile care coordination, outreach, and advocacy services.

Services available:

The NHS Fresh Start Veterans' Emergency Housing Program opened its doors in April 2010. The program operates in partnership with the Coatesville VA Medical Center (CVAMC) and is located on the CVAMC campus. The program serves as an emergency entry point into the VA’s homeless care system and offers a seamless continuity of medical and mental healthcare, and case management services for veterans in need of emergency housing.

The goal of this program is to ensure that no veteran ever sleep on the street or in a shelter when identified by a VA social worker or if he should present for emergency services at an area VAMC, CBOC, or Vet Center. This program is used for short-term housing and a bridge to inpatient services or more permanent living situations. The average length of stay is approximately 30 to 60 days. While in this program, veterans must follow an abbreviated treatment schedule, attend various self help groups if deemed necessary, and abide by all the rules and curfews that promote our atmosphere of responsibility, safety, and personal growth.

For more information or to make a referral: 610-384-7711(Ext. 6301).

The NHS Fresh Start Veterans' Mobile Care Coordination Team (VMCCT) provides outreach, case management, and advocacy to veterans in southeastern PA. The team is made up of master’s level clinical social workers with years of veteran service experience and a vast knowledge of the local and national HCHV continuum. Services we provide include:

  • Emergency, transitional, and permanent housing placements to veterans with all discharge types
  • Help with navigating the HUD/VASH and SSVF processes
  • Direct case management for veterans in need of additional supports
  • Employment assistance
  • Linkage to VA medical and mental healthcare
  • Assistance with the VA benefit process
  • Assistance with SSI and SSD benefit processes
  • Legal support and advocacy
  • Crisis management
  • Assistance with obtaining IDs.
  • Assistance with obtaining DD214s
  • Placement in community based programs and clinics for veterans with all types of discharges

Please contact 215-427-2096 if you or a veteran you know is in need of these services. Remember, our staff is able to work with veterans of all discharge types to include dishonorable and bad conduct.

NHS Fresh Start currently operates both shared and individual permanent housing units. These are long term permanent housing opportunities in which veterans pay a fair market “low income” rent to NHS Fresh Start. These housing units are supported and recognized by our partnering VAMCs but are not funded by the VA. Our “shared units” are single family dwellings in which each veteran is given a private furnished bedroom and share common areas such as kitchens, living rooms, laundry room, etc. A common rent amount is typically between $500 to $600 per month and includes all utilities and maintenance of the property.

Our individual living units are one and two bedroom apartments and operate on a lease term. These units can be obtained with or without HUD/VASH approval. NHS Fresh Start has multiple units throughout several PA counties including: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Allegheny. NHS Fresh Start staff will link veterans who are eligible for SSVF services to various agencies to assist with entering or sustaining their permanent housing.

The NHS Fresh Start Veterans' Transitional Housing Programs are located in Philadelphia and Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The average length of stay for these programs is typically six to nine months. Every veteran residing at NHS Fresh Start is enrolled at the Philadelphia or Coatesville VA Medical Centers and will receive a seamless continuity of care to meet all of their presenting and ongoing medical, mental health, and social work needs. Each veteran will be assigned a case manager who will ensure that each veteran is enrolled in both the medical and mental health units of our local VA medical centers and given a primary care doctor. Our case managers will also link each veteran to the various units and resources within the VA health system and advocate for our veterans to ensure the best quality of care is received.

The program model is one of structure and safety. Our residents work on various recovery, employment, social, and personal activities on a daily basis with the assistance of our case managers. We understand that helping veterans cannot be a "one size fits all" model. Therefore, if a veteran feels he does not want to attend a scheduled activity, our staff will work with that veteran to assure he spends that time productively and will provide alternatives that promote personal growth and responsibility.

Benefits of the program:

  • Safe housing in a very clean and well maintained environment.
  • Case management to ensure each veteran is receiving the care needed to address his presenting and ongoing issues.
  • Linkage to all available resources at the local VA Medical Centers.
  • Linkage to all community-based and VA housing programs to include HUD/VASH, and SSVF.
  • Support from the NHS Fresh Start Mobile Care Coordination team to assist with difficult processes such as VA benefit claims, SSI/SSD claims, and securing gainful employment.
  • Meal service to include three well-balanced meals per day.
  • Transportation to and from local VA medical centers and other various appointments.

A veteran's stay at the NHS Fresh Start veterans' transitional housing programs will be funded by the VA Grant and Per Diem Program. A veteran may be asked to pay a program fee, no more than 30% of his adjusted "net" income, or a fee based on the VA/HUD fair market value formula, whichever is less.

NHS Fresh Start officially opened the doors of the Independence Hall program in September 2010. This is a comprehensive 30 bed transitional housing program located on the campus of the Coatesville VA Medical Center. The program serves veterans with SMI. NHS Fresh Start partnered with CVAMC to offer this program, bridging the gap between homelessness and instability, to independent living and more permanent housing. The program's services are integrated keeping the many clinical services on the unit. NHS Fresh Start offers residents of this program care management and individualized treatment.

NHS Fresh Start believes that each component of service has reverberating effects beyond its own goal area. For example, the availability of safe structured housing reduces burden on the families of a veteran with mental illness. It can significantly reduce relapse and re-hospitalization because it permits a toning down of the stress and tension that can occur in the family unit. For this reason NHS Fresh Start has developed a daily treatment regimen which addresses many of the core areas our residents need to address in order to achieve their independence. Medication management, life skills, financial planning and money management, social skills, proper nutrition, and drug and alcohol recovery are a few of the components of the Independence Hall service model.

Another responsibility and very important component of the NHS Fresh Start model is advocacy. The SMI and dually-diagnosed veteran populations require a multiplicity of services, thus making advocacy a necessity. NHS Fresh Start believes that advocacy needs to occur at both the patient level and the systems level. At the patient level, our care managers need to assist the veteran in receiving all the benefits to which he is entitled. At the systems level, the advocacy requires applying pressure to the system in order to make modifications and improvements. We often see that family needs to be brought into this process to enhance the impact of our advocacy efforts.

Last, at the center of the Independence Hall service delivery and positive outcomes are the NHS Fresh Start core values of: respect, dignity, empathy, patience, integrity, and trust. These principles are a must when working with all populations; however, they are vital to the success of a helping relationship with the SMI and dually-diagnosed veteran populations.

NHS Fresh Start currently has 4 recovery house programs in which residents can have their stay funded by the Philadelphia Office of Addiction Services (OAS). Combined these programs make up 63 transitional housing beds which serve approximately 200 adult men and women annually. All four programs have capacity to serve adult men and women engaged in Methadone and Suboxone treatments. We are primarily serving non-violent offenders with a history of drug use/abuse; however, non forensic referrals may also be made to these programs through OAS who acts as the program gatekeeper.

Criteria for admission to Fresh Start includes a willingness to participate in drug and alcohol treatment, motivation toward personal recovery, must be a minimum of 18years of age, and have a willingness to follow the Fresh Start rules and regulations. Everyone will attend recovery oriented activities daily, do assigned chores on a daily basis, and follow a very structured schedule. Each Fresh Start facility has 24/7 staff supervision to ensure an atmosphere of recovery is maintained at all times. Our facilities are kept extremely clean and each person in recovery is afforded the amenities he/she will need to feel safe and comfortable while working on their personal recovery.

NHS Fresh Start offers two self-pay transitional housing programs for adult men and women. The residents of our transitional housing programs pay their rent weekly or monthly, and must be willing to actively participate in their own personal recovery, and do so with minimal supervision. Prospective residents will participate in a face to face interview. If accepted to the program each person in recovery (PIR) is expected to use the program as a bridge to independent living. Residents must possess identification, and have an established source of income (i.e. employment, SSI, SSD, VA benefit, etc).

The self-pay transitional living programs provide a semi-structured, supportive environment. The program is supervised by NHS Fresh Start staff and is supported by peer-to-peer mentors. The Facilities are kept extremely clean and are equipped with all the amenities one needs in order to feel safe and comfortable. Each facility has a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, cable TV, air conditioning, etc. Curfew for all residents is 12am Monday through Thursday, and 1am Friday and Saturday.

For more information about our veterans programs or to make a referral, please call:

  • Philadelphia: 215-423-5609
  • Coatesville: 610-384-7711 (ext. 5699)
  • Veterans' Mobile Care Coordination (VMCCT): 215-427-2096
  • Permanent Housing Opportunities For Veterans: 610-380-1285

For more information about our services for adult men and women or to make a referral, please call:

  • Women’s Recovery Housing (funded): 215-634-8160
  • Men’s Recovery Housing (funded): 215-426-1420 and 215-739-0369
  • Recovery Housing For Spanish Speaking Men: 215-426-0993
  • Self- Pay Transitional Housing For Men: 215-535-0985
  • Self-Pay Transitional Housing For Women: 215-634-8160