EMERGENCY HELP: If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the ISK Access Center at (269) 373-6000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (ask for Emergency Mental Health or EMH).
Veteran Navigator Services
Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) in Kalamazoo County can access Veteran Navigator services to get expert knowledge about organizations and services available to them. The Veteran Navigator identifies resources and connects SMVF to services based on their unique and specific needs.
Referrals and follow-up support are available within Kalamazoo County for:
• Mental Health
• Veteran Benefits
Meet ISK’s Veteran Navigator, Juan Gonzalez
Juan M. Gonzalez is the Veteran Navigator for Integrated Services of Kalamazoo. In his duties, he is the community outreach contact for military service members, veterans, and their families in Kalamazoo County. He can assist with housing, health, employment, education, mental health, jail diversion, and other areas, using local and state resources. Juan is active in veteran programs such as the Veteran Engagement Teams, Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means, Gryphon Place Community Engagement, and other organizations.
Master Sergeant Gonzalez retired from the Michigan Air National Guard/United States Air Force on July 31, 2018, after 27 years of honorable military service. He has been deployed to Shiekh Isa Air Base, Bahrain (twice); Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq; and Al Dharfa Air Base, United Arab Emirates.
Veteran Services News
A team from the Portage Lowe’s store visited Keystone Veteran Transitional House (KVTH) on Friday, Oct. 29 to build eight raised-bed garden boxes and install fencing for a therapy garden.
“A lot of the Vets enjoy gardening; it’s truly therapeutic during a very stressful time in their lives,” says Tyrone Thrash, Keystone Housing Coordinator.
Keystone Veteran Transitional House (KVTH) is a 12-bed shelter for homeless military service veterans located at 422 E. Stockbridge in Kalamazoo. Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (ISK) opened KVTH in the summer of 2020. Individuals accepted into the KVTH program are connected with housing resources in the Kalamazoo County area as well as the Battle Creek VA.
ISK’s Veteran Navigator Juan Gonzalez says the evidence shows horticultural therapy could be significantly beneficial to KVTH residents. “According to research, horticultural therapy helps with the mitigation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression, and other mental health problems,” Gonzalez says.
Other benefits of gardening therapy include stress reduction, improved attention, and improved individual and group goal-setting, as well as the positive impact of being outside in the fresh air. For more information from Christopher Imler, Consumer Horticulture and Veterans Liaison with Michigan State University Extension, click here.
The KVTH staff worked with Lowe’s manager Jim Merkle, a Marine Corps veteran himself, to design the garden.
Kalamazoo County Veterans Service Office: New and Extended Services Available
Learn how you can access food vouchers, gas cards, emergency housing assistance, utility assistance, plus help with filling a propane tank, pumping a septic tank, and more.
Keystone Veteran Transitional House Now Open
- There are more than 76 homeless veterans in Kalamazoo County.
- These men and women deserve our respect and help.
- They put their lives on the line to defend our freedom.
Keystone Veteran Transitional House (KVTH) opened on July 22, 2020. KVTH is a 12-bed shelter for homeless military service veterans, with two beds and one room specifically for female veterans. Individuals accepted into the KVTH program are connected with housing resources in the Kalamazoo County area as well as the Battle Creek VA. Visit Keystone on Facebook at facebook.com/keystone4vets!
KEYSTONE VETERAN TRANSITIONAL HOUSE:
Open House 2020
ISK held a virtual celebration of the opening of the Keystone Veteran Transitional House in 2020.
The video features Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; David Anderson (ISK’s Director of Housing; Member of Kalamazoo County Public Housing Commission; Mayor of Kalamazoo); Michael Seals (Vice-Chair, Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners); Jeff Patton (ISK’s Chief Executive Officer); Joseph Williams (Veteran and Keystone Resident); Edward Russell (Veteran and Keystone Resident); and Tyrone Thrash (Keystone Housing Coordinator)