Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's):
What is the PURPOSE of the NCHV?
The NCHV Purpose is to “Return Healthy Veterans to America.” We address health in terms of physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational wellness. In addition, health includes basic life skills such as financial management, resilience, marriage and family wellness, and professional purpose and competency.
What motivated this NCHV initiative?
Illustrative that all of America’s Veterans are not healthy is the tragic loss of roughly 22 veterans a day to suicide, combined with a wide array of other mental and behavioral health issues. Motivated by the desire to help our nation’s Veterans overcome these challenges, the NCHV is being established to help each American Veteran achieve full health and their full God-given potential as they transition to civilian contribution.
This initiative recognizes the inherent and unique value of veterans to serve, contribute, and lead -- they are truly a National Treasure. They have pledged their very lives for our freedom, security, and prosperity. Respect and care for our nation’s Veterans is an American moral and practical imperative. Practically, our Veterans follow and lead well, they have valuable skills, they possess an ethic of service, they live out deeply rooted core values, and they understand equality across race, creed, and culture -- recognizing that we all bleed the same red blood.
Our Veterans need America, and America needs Healthy Veterans.
After observing veteran support programs (both public and private sector) over the last 40 years, we determined that a large scale, private sector, faith-based, holistic program was needed to restore veterans to full health and return them to America for continued purpose and contribution.
There have been two other similar private sector initiatives in the last two decades: 1) The Center for the Intrepid (2007, $50M) in San Antonio TX for burn victims and amputees, and 2) The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (2010, $65M) in Washington DC for PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injury), and associated conditions. The National Center for Healthy Veterans will now provide a similar Center of Excellence to help veterans transition to wellness and full contribution in the civilian sector.
Why Now? What do you hope to achieve ?
Such an initiative should have been pursued long before this.
We are confronted with an urgent need. In the last decade alone over 73,000 military experienced men and women have committed suicide; more than all the names engraved on the Vietnam War Memorial. This tragic number increases by roughly 22 veterans a day.. A key NCHV objective is to reduce Veteran suicide through the holistic healing environment and sense of community which we will uniquely offer.
Also, regarding “why now,” America is nearing 20 years of continuous wartime deployments. The untreated, often hidden, wounds of war are festering and will not automatically self-heal. They deserve a disciplined, intentional and holistic approach to healing. Regrettably, we did not do this after Vietnam, and many of our Vietnam Veterans are still suffering in silence, or living under bridges, or have tragically taken their own lives. NOW is the time to help our young generation of America’s warriors and uniformed servants heal. We must apply the “ounce of prevention” now, before we as a Nation have to pay a “pound of cure” for decades to come.
In terms of achievable objectives, our NCHV calling is to offer holistic, cross functional services to enable all military/veteran and first responder personnel (and their families) to heal, grow, and succeed in a lifetime of personal and professional contribution. Desired tangible outcomes include lives saved, self-worth restored, lives transformed, marriages saved, families strengthened, resiliency internalized, skills acquired, education advanced, and veterans employed. In the ultimate sense, strong healthy Veterans are key to a strong America.
From a national perspective, NCHV will serve as a clearing house for best-practice, faith-based approaches to Veteran and First Responder (and their families) care. We will seek to educate and empower excellence in Veteran Care in communities, corporations, campuses, and churches across the nation
Why have you selected River Bend Farm for this NCHV Initiative?
River Bend Farm provides the optimal environment and resources essential to the success of the NCHV. Campbell County is friendly, patriotic, industrious, and inherently supportive of Veterans and First Responders -- and provides numerous training and employment opportunities that will be mutually beneficial to NCHV and Campbell County.
Furthermore, proximity to Liberty University (LU) is an important factor, with the potential for extensive volunteer support and technical support from various Departments at Liberty. We anticipate that long term relationships with the LU Center for Chaplaincy, School of Business, Department of Behavioral Sciences (Counseling, Psychology, et al), College of Medicine, School of Government, and Office of Military Affairs will provide mutually beneficial opportunities for service to veterans.
While this is the first NCHV location, others are inquiring about using NCHV as a model for implementation in other States.
How large is your farm and village community ?
Geographically, the farm and village community comprises 339 acres. From a population perspective, there will be approximately 150 veterans and support staff residents on the farm at any given time with other veterans and first responders engaged in short duration stays to attend conferences, short courses, and various types of therapy.
What makes the National Center for Healthy Veterans, the Farm, and the tiny home communities so unique?
This is a unique integration of many proven best practices.
Today there are over 40,000 non-profit enterprises and private companies that serve the military, first responders, and 20+ million person Veterans. While doing great work, most are short duration programs that do not integrate multiple elements of personal growth and recovery. Aftercare, sustainable results, and recidivism are a challenge for such programs.
The NCHV distinctive is that longer term participation in dignified work and learning opportunities, immersion in a healing and wellness culture, growth through best-practice/faith-based programs, and relationship through community create a firm foundation which enables true life change and future success.
There are a small number of other similarly integrated initiatives around the country but NCHV’s beautiful and serene setting in Campbell County, our proximity to Liberty University, Virginia Technical Institute, Central Virginia Community College, and others in the region empower NCHV’s role as a national clearinghouse for best practices. Our strong faith-based component provides a unique, empirically proven set of programs and resources.
What do you mean by “Tiny Homes” and how do they support healing and rejuvenation ?
Although there are a number of “Tiny Home” initiatives around the country, the definition of what constitutes a tiny home is not standardized.
When we use the term in the context of the NCHV we mean a small home built on a concrete slab (300 to 600 square feet) that each have a bedroom and private bathroom facilities to include a shower, toilet and sink. Each home will have plentiful storage for clothing, private food items in cabinets and a small refrigerator. They will be climate controlled with a split mini heating and air conditioning unit. These homes are very energy efficient and provide a practical and affordable solution for housing that heals.
Seeking to avoid unhealthy isolation, the tiny homes are intentionally oriented towards each other and a shared community center building to encourage and support healthy relationships and community interactions as often as possible.
This intentional design of tiny homes in a communal setting allows each individual or family the opportunity to have a private, safe, secure, healing home and still experience the advantages of community and relationship.
We must do more than just provide adequate housing. NCHV is a community with supportive services and amenities to help address an individual’s relational needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional housing initiatives. This community setting, combined with best-practice healing and equipping programs is the holistic integration that will produce sustained results and true life transformation for Veterans and First Responders (and their families).
Here is the schematic for one of the NCHV Veteran Villages:
Are there other farms and/or tiny home communities like this?
We look to these three projects and their leadership in the tiny home movement as examples of the power of community based hyper affordable housing in solving our nation's housing crisis, and homelessness crisis. What they have learned and shared through their journey informs our program design. Although we don’t serve the same (primarily homeless) population as these leaders, we have learned and continue to learn from their leadership.
We are not aware of any other projects that incorporate the elements of our program including tiny home supportive residential units, behavioral education and training, Veteran agricultural and trades training, large active sustainable farming operations, and economic/financial development. Although not utilizing tiny homes, Veterans Lodge in Florida possesses many of the characteristics of the NCHV.
Are the Villages considered transitional housing or low income housing (HCV or Section 8) ?
The NCHV is not a government funded or managed housing program and is not expressly designed to receive government housing subsidies or payments. We are open and willing to partner with any organization that is helping our Veterans in their time of need.
One such program is the HUD-VASH program that provides housing support for Veterans under VA medical supervision and need stable housing. We can foresee engaging with this program in the future.
Where we differ from normal transitional or low income housing is in the holistic community approach to faith, wellness, personal growth and dignified work in a healing natural environment.
How many people do you expect to work there ? Number of jobs created over time ? What types of jobs will be created?
Every Veteran and First Responder in residence (maximum of 130) will have a job assignment and perform work on a part-time basis. As well, NCHV staff (20) will be either volunteers, part-time, or full-time workers. Collectively, this will be approximately 150 workers on an ongoing basis.
As NCHV Infrastructure grows, particularly with the Welcome Center and the Wellness and Conference Center, there will be approximately 50 additional jobs created. These jobs will range from professional counselors, physical therapists, hospitality workers, facility managers, dieticians, doctors and nurses involved in pain management and sleep management, performance coaches, business consultants, and other specialists.
During periods of major infrastructure construction, the onsite work force will increase significantly (perhaps in excess of 100), utilizing architects, engineers, construction workers, logistics operators, and numerous other vendors.
If someone wants to get involved how do they contact you ?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions, submit veterans referrals, or express interest in getting involved in other ways.
Who do you see as the primary group that you support ?
We focus upon two primary groups:
Veterans and First Responders (and their families) who will benefit from NCHV environment and programs, and
Caregivers of the above (Communities, Corporations, Campuses, Churches, Chaplains, Lay and Professional Military Counselors and Caregivers) with whom we share content and best practices to help them help Veterans.
What Programs do you plan to offer ?
Other personal development, technical, and skills programs such as physical therapy, leadership, diet education, performance coaching, sleep management, pain management, art therapy, equine therapy, and others as dictated by needs of the community.
Conferences and short courses in Veterans Support to educate and empower Communities, Churches, Campuses, and Corporations.
What certifications and licenses do the employees and volunteers at NCHV require?
Employees at NCHV are required to sign the NCHV Statement of Faith. Ideally, NCHV employees will be a veteran/first responder or have experience working with those communities.
Certifications and Licenses required depend upon the assigned roles. NCHV small group content providers and coaches do not require any form of certification. Certifications, however, are an additive competency and desired when available for a particular discipline. For example, although not required, a Master Resilience Coach certification is desirable for a resilience content provider or small group leader. NCHV will encourage our Veterans and First Responders to begin teaching others as soon as possible, and achieve their own certifications to enhance their value to self, family, community, and future employers.
Professional counselors who interact with NCHV clients will be properly licensed in the State of Virginia. There are numerous categories of qualification and licensure such as Licensed Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and many others. Prior to having residential professional counselors at the NCHV, personnel will be sent to community counselors with whom we have trusted relationships and who are proficient in veteran counseling. We look forward to working closely with all local, regional, and federal programs to ensure that those with psychological/psychiatric needs get that care from highly qualified and properly licensed professionals.
Counseling education and licensure requirements vary by State and are primarily dependent upon acquired education in the discipline, experience in the field, and often completion of certain qualifying examinations. Some useful websites for the State of Virginia include:
Who qualifies to participate in your programs? How are they vetted and or selected for attendance?
We serve all Active Military, National Guard, Reserve, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. As well, leaders from communities, corporations, campuses, churches, and parachurch military ministries who seek to help the Veterans and First Responders will attend conferences and short courses at NCHV.
We operate primarily on a referral basis. These referrals come from community veteran programs, regional veteran networks, national veteran service support organizations, and the large number of faith-based military outreach non-profits. Over time, partnerships with the Departments of Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will also result in referrals.
All referred NCHV Village residents will complete our internal assessment tools, be fingerprinted, and agree to a criminal background check processed by the FBI. To ensure that NCHV is serving the correct population, we will also ask for proof of government service, evidence of VA disability ratings, and any other releasable information that will assist caregivers.
After referral, applications for enrollment in the National Center for Healthy Veterans are reviewed by the NCHV Client Care Council which makes an informed decision regarding who to accept or refer to other sources of help. The Client Care Council also oversees the creation and maintenance of Personal Development Plans (PDP) which governs the program growth tracks taken by each individual.
The diagram below illustrates this process:
How many clients do you see living in the community and how long will they reside there ?
We plan to build 5 tiny home villages with 20 homes in each. The first 2 villages will be built by spring 2021. We plan to add at least 20 tiny homes and an additional community center every year for the following 3 years. This totals 100 homes, 80% will be single residents, 20% will be missionary coaches and pastoral teams as well as some military families. Current plans include twenty or fewer clients on the farm in 2021, up to 40 in 2022, 60 in 2023, 80 in 2024, and 100-120 in 2025, and beyond.
Once major infrastructure projects (Lodge, Wellness and Conference Center) are complete in the 2025 to 2030 time frame, there will be a large volume of short term guests attending conferences and special events at the NCHV.
The duration of stay is dependent upon the incoming wellness status of the Veteran or First Responder, their progress during their stay, and their preparedness to transition from NCHV to educational or employment opportunities. Our estimate now is that residential stay will average 6-12 months.
How do you decide when they graduate/depart the farm?
The length of stay depends on a person’s progress through their Personal Development Plan (PDP). Their head coach/Section leader will review their progress weekly. Monthly progress reports will generate potential graduation dates and the beginning of their employment support programs. We graduate based on personal success and growth in client developed goals, not time in the program.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security are a top priority. This extends to our homes, the workplace, and our community.
The simple code of conduct for each NCHV resident is as follows:
Obey all civil law and farm regulations
Continue to grow physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally
Seek to serve and lead to the benefit of family, community, and fellow workers
Farm specific regulations include the following safety and security provisions:
The Farm is a weapons safe zone.
Weapons will be checked in upon entry to the property. No one carries weapons without express authorization.
Concealed carry on the Farm is not permitted without the Farm Manager’s written approval.
Border Security and Fencing
We will install security cameras in various strategic places throughout the farm.
Fences will be maintained in coordination with each adjoining neighbor to meet our mutual needs according to our Fence Plan (Fencing Plan Annex to our SOP)
A restricted access gate will be placed on the entrance road to the NCHV.
The Farm will have clearly delineated routes of travel for automobiles, golf cart/four wheelers, and commercial vehicles.
Privately owned vehicle traffic will be minimized on the Farm, with smaller conveyances as the preferred option.
Speed limits and safe driving practices will be enforced.
RBF Lane egress onto Route 29: The Virginia Department of Transportation conducted a survey related to the 2006 rezoning of the entrance acreage from Agricultural to Residential/multi-family. The VDOT reading at the time was the amount of traffic from those new homes did not warrant a new traffic pattern. The amount of transportation activity generated by NCHV will be significantly lower than the 130 single/multiple family homes which VDOT analyzed.
We will work with local health, safety, and security government providers to ensure a properly responsive quarantine program should one be necessary.
Our farm family has served honorably in the military. They are well versed in safety and are accustomed to holding one another accountable.
They have been referred by trusted private and government programs for our faith-based counselling, mentorship, and education, and employment/ trade programs.
Members of the staff will be living in the same tiny home communities. These members mentor and monitor residential life, identifying needs and responding immediately whenever something unexpected arises. .
Personal Development Plan
Every client will progress through their Personal Development Plan at their own pace. This measurable plan provide purpose, focus, and a sense of progression:
The PDP is comprised of personalized faith, family, and professional goals.
Success-based metrics allow oversight and provide insights for both counsellors and individuals and guide their activities in these categories.
The combination of in-community support member assessments and PDP evaluations will effectively provide early identification of issues requiring additional assistance.
Our partners in the Community, the VA, and private providers will provide seamless support in changing situations to keep the environment peaceful and productive at all times.
Training and education
The generous outpouring of support from donors, as well as local, regional, and national Veteran and First Responder support providers has been heartwarming.
We intend to partner first with local providers to assist in educating, counselling, and employing members of our community. We especially look forward to training and certification programs supported by Local Sheriff, Police, Fire Department, and First Responders to ensure safety, security, and readiness at all times.
Assoon as possible, we hope to see these same agencies and local businesses recruiting and hiring members of our community.
Are people with PTSD going to be living at the National Center for Healthy Veterans ? Should this be a concern?
Yes, veterans and first responders with PTSD will be living at the National Center for Healthy Veterans. This should not be a major concern. Consider the following:
PTSD is a normal reaction to abnormal traumatic events which occur in one’s life. It is considered a psychological injury caused by the surge of stress-related hormones which occur in a traumatic situation. While military PTSD has been highlighted in the context of America’s recent conflicts, civilian PTSD is also very prominent as the result of being a victim of or observing sexual trauma, violent crimes, natural disasters, and numerous other scenarios.
These statistics illustrate how far reaching this phenomenon is and the depth of need to treat it.
Everyday Americans experience PTSD rates from 7 - 17% Nationally
Law Enforcement officer PTSD rates range from 6 - 32% depending on type and region of police work conducted.
EMT/ Paramedic PTSD Rates range from 9 - 22%
Fire Fighter PTSD Ranges from 17 - 32%
Veterans of Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) with PTSD range from 11 - 20%
PTSD is an injury, and it is treatable. As with any injury, there are degrees of severity and duration of PTSD. Analogous to other injuries, PTSD can be treated and minimized through a variety of useful protocols including diet and exercise, mental exercises and therapies, spiritual disciplines, small group interaction, and lay coaching. Some of the more advanced therapies for chronic PTSD include clinical counseling by licensed professionals, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), immersion therapy, hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and brain spectral imaging. In the most extreme cases of PTSD, the Department of Veterans Affairs and many civilian medical centers have residential programs for military and civilian PTSD treatment.
Realistically, each of us encounter multiple people with PTSD in our daily routines without knowing it. Individuals with PTSD generally function without significant impairment and do not display higher predisposition to violence than the general population. From the 2018 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Research Findings on PTSD and Violence, “... it is important to note that research clearly shows that the majority of people who have been diagnosed with PTSD do not engage in violence. In the end, we all have a choice over our own actions.”
The greater concern is that PTSD sufferers are more inclined to self-harm related to the military and veteran suicide we seek to address. The interest of the individual and the community are best served by treating PTSD early and definitively, rather than allowing veterans and others to suffer in silence.
While it is against the law to ask if someone has the condition in either a work or an educational environment, reducing the stigma associated with reporting PTSD is key to individuals self-identifying PTSD and actively seeking help.
The population of Veterans, Active Military, National Guard, and Reserves as well as first responders need our help. These great Americans fought for us so others could go on with their lives without the burden of war. Now we have the opportunity to repay this debt by helping them achieve physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and relational wellness; including victory over PTSD. In support of this objective, the National Center for Healthy Veterans will serve as a subject matter resource to educate and mobilize communities, corporations, campuses, and churches regarding PTSD, and other mental and behavioral health challenges our veterans and their families encounter.
Will people with pain and depression medications reside on the property ?
Yes. Any such medications will be over the counter or properly prescribed. NCHV programs have the potential to minimize or eliminate the need for such medications.
What kind of farming will you be doing?
The existing farm property is set up as a world-class equestrian facility, we intend to restore and use the facility to run a reasonable horse boarding facility and to partner with local and national leaders in equine therapy.
The additional existing paddocks and hay/alfalfa fields will be utilized to produce small square hay bales for the horse operation, and to rotate pasture-raised egg-laying chickens, as well as graze beef animals in a daily rotational system with movable paddocks.
All of our farm operations and systems will be designed to reduce heavy equipment usage and involve more people at varying skill levels in the farming process to create dignified work and foster a healing environment.
The existing vegetable gardens and fruit production will be substantially expanded (as well as personal gardens surrounding each tiny house to encourage personal gardening) to produce healthy local food for our brothers and sisters onsite as well as for sale in our roadside stand to the general public.
What kind of experience and expertise do you have?
Our farm manager and supportive staff have decades of experience in production agriculture (dairy, beef, row crop, sustainable agriculture, vegetable production and greenhouse production). We will be leveraging this experience to build a farming operation that fits the character of the land and infrastructure, and that provides the safest most productive environment possible for our community members that will be a part of the farm team.
We look forward to working with local farm leaders, extension agents, university researchers and local value add and farm industry service providers.
How will fencing be used to ensure optimal safety and security on the property ?
Fences will be maintained in coordination with each adjoining neighbor to meet our mutual needs according to our Fence Plan (Fencing Plan Annex to our SOP).
A map of the property and our up-to-date fencing construction plan is included in our Fencing Plan Annex. This construction plan includes multiple levels of interior livestock fencing (both permanent and temporary), maintenance of existing fencing, and the installation of cattle guards and gates where appropriate to provide privacy and security for our community members, our neighbors., and the surrounding community
Our long term goal is to build an 8ft game fence along the majority of the perimeter of the property as shown in our Fence Plan.
Are you competing with local farmers?
No. Our main purpose for our farm program is to honor the land’s highest and best use, create a healing environment, facilitate hands-on learning,, and feed people in the healthiest way possible.
We anticipate partnering with local farmers in mutually beneficial ways. We will be able to offer trustworthy, hardworking, well-trained, highly skilled professional workers.Local farmers will be contributing their own expertise, custom farming services, and supportive mentoring and friendship to our Veterans and First Responders..
Do you envision an additional burden on local police, EMS, medical, or other facilities in the Lynchburg/Altavista area ?
Our observation with other tiny home communities around the nation is there is very low burden on law enforcement and fire department services. Over the last decade, there have been negligible reports of violent crimes or serious incidents in such communities.
We will have people in generally good physical condition with manageable health conditions. All medications and other routine medical support will be through standard HMO,VA,Tricare, Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. Visibility of their medical care will be open and transparent to their ministry and wellness team leaders.
We will be a valuable asset for local police, EMS, fire, and other county personnel as NCHV offers appreciation events and educational classes to assist their personal and professional growth. We also seek to provide qualified and motivated Veteran employees to these first responder communities.
Can you talk about governance and how the organization will be managed ?
The Governance of the 501(c)3 National Center for Healthy Veterans is overseen by a seven person board of directors who are distinguished, highly experienced, and possess complementary skill sets. Biographies for each Director and key NCHV employees can be found on the NCHV website. This duly-constituted board oversees policy and provides guidance for programs and business, resource decisions, personnel decisions, fundraising, and major partnership initiatives. The majority of these Directors are from the State of Virginia. Board Members will visit the NCHV frequently to provide assistance to residential NCHV leadership.
The NCHV Staff which supports the Board of Directors and overall operations is a highly experienced set of professionals with backgrounds in Military, Finance, Human Resources, Faith-Based programs, and Farming.
Additionally, we are growing a Board of Advisors (many who live locally) with expertise in the veteran and first responder arenas, the faith community, prominent professionals and academics, and former government and military leaders.
Who from the staff and leadership of NCHV will be present for daily operations ?
The Farm Manager will live on the property with his family and personally oversee all operations and activities. He possesses extensive expertise in farming and ranching operations, along with the leadership and mentoring skills necessary to maintain the desired culture of service, growth, and teamwork at NCHV.
Other planned resident NCHV staff. which will expand over time. will include a Program Director couple, an Assistant Farm Manager, and a Volunteer Coordinator; as well as “missional” mentors who will actually live in the Veteran villages. Additionally, part and full time employees and volunteers will assist this NCHV residential leadership.
There will be additional residential staff as the Welcome Center and the Wellness and Conference Center begin operation.
Can I come visit the farm?
Yes. We encourage visits. We will host open houses on a regularly scheduled basis. These will be announced in community media.
NCHV honors the service of America’s Patriots, at home and abroad. As such, it is a valuable asset for education and inspiration for the local community. We look forward to hosting many schools, Churches, and local Community groups. Please contact us as far in advance as possible to schedule a field trip .
If someone wants to get involved, how do they contact you ?
Email email@example.com to ask questions, submit veterans referrals, or express interest in getting involved in other ways.
To DONATE in support of Veterans and First Responders, go to the NCHV website at www.HealthyVeterans.org.