Our History: The Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) was founded in 1980 to address the multiple needs of Vietnam Veterans. Since that time our programs have grown and diversified to meet the needs of all Veterans and their families.
Below is a timeline of notable events and accomplishments that outline the history of the Veterans Multi-Service Center (formerly the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service & Education Center or PVMSEC).
PVMSEC was established as one of 23 programs nationally by the Veterans White House Coordinating Committee, under the Carter Administration, to meet the needs of Vietnam Veterans experiencing difficulties with access benefits from the VA.
1981 – 1988
PVMSEC continues in benefits assistance and expands to implement programs for resume assistance, job development, and employment placement.
1988 – 1996
PVMSEC was one of the first Veteran service providers in the eastern region of The United States to receive funding to provide services to Vietnam Veterans and their families who were experiencing physical and related problems resulting from exposure to agent orange. Over 5,000 Veterans and their families received critical services from PVMSEC during this time.
Our Nation’s Persian Gulf Veterans begin visiting PVMSEC requesting assistance.
PVMSEC becomes the focal point and prime service provider for Philadelphia’s first Stand Down (an annual weekend event for Veterans in transition to meet basic needs, such as clothing, toiletries, etc.) demonstrating the need for establishing a comprehensive Veteran service center program (The Perimeter program at PVMSEC opened in 2000).
PVMSEC was incorporated as a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization.
The transitional housing program, (LZ II) opened on the grounds of the Coatesville VA Medical Center to provide 50 beds for transitioning male and female Veterans.
After years of limited space for operations, PVMSEC moves to Old City Philadelphia (213-217 N. 4th Street) to accommodate the growing needs of regional Veterans and to expand services. Extensive renovations occurred and PVMSEC relocated all programs and services to our new location in 1999.
The Perimeter, our homeless Veteran day service center, was established to provide a full spectrum of services to our homeless Veteran clients.
PVMSEC expands its transitional housing by 45 beds to provide a total of 95 beds to male and female Veterans at LZ II. PVMSEC began to provide a variety of services to our nation’s newest Veterans, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Recognized by Glaxo Smith Kline to receive the Glaxo Smith Kline International Impact Award for making a substantial contribution to the medical and mental health status, outcomes and improved general life situations of countless Veterans in the Philadelphia and its surrounding communities. PVMSEC was also presented the US Department of Labor Exemplary Public Interest Award. Presented annually to a community and constituent organization that exhibits outstanding accomplishments that support the office of federal contract compliance programs.
PVMSEC separates its transitional housing program in Coatesville, PA into gender specific housing. LZ II is now designated as an all-male program. The Mary E. Walker House, a separate transitional housing 30 bed program, opens on the grounds of the Coatesville VA Medical Center for female Veterans who have found themselves in difficult life situations. The Walker House is one of the largest female Veteran specific transitional housing programs in the United States.
Named “Non-profit Organization of the Year” by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
PVMSEC expands its capacity to serve women Veterans, offering targeted training to women Veterans in the green economy.
Founding Director Edward J. Lowry retires after 30 years of service to our areas Veterans. Marsha L. Four, US Army Nurse Corps, Vietnam and former PVMSEC Director of Homeless Services, is appointed as PVMSEC’s new Executive Director.
Honored as 2012 Top-Rated Non-profit by Greatnonprofits.org
Marsha L. Four, retires from her Executive Director position after 16 years of service to Veterans. Tim Meserve, Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel is appointed as PVMSEC’s Executive Director.
The PVMSEC becomes the Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) as it expands its mission to serve even more Veterans throughout the region.
“Operating Base Cecilia” is established in the former St. Cecilia’s School in downtown Coatesville and VMC begins providing Supportive Services for Veteran Families in these counties, in partnership with Catholic Social Services.
Honored as 2013 Top-Rated Non-Profit by Greatnonprofits.org
Tim Meserve steps down as Executive Director after bringing the VMC to new heights through a tremendous growth of services and expansion of reach throughout the region.
Tim Williams, a combat wounded Veteran and retired Army Special Forces Colonel with over 30 years of active duty service is appointed Executive Director.
VMC is awarded SSVF funding to expand programs for transitioning and at-risk Veterans and their families into Delaware, South New Jersey, and Central PA.
The Veterans Multi-Service Center (VMC) in partnership with Orens Brothers Real Estate and Mosaic Development Group develops a veteran housing project with 66-units of affordable housing entitled Edison 64 Veterans Community.
Located on the former site of Edison High School at 700 West Somerset Street in the Fairhill neighborhood of Philadelphia, the project pays tribute to those that committed their lives to serving our country. Edison High School experienced the loss of more students to casualties in the Vietnam War than any other school in America – 64 in total.
The Edison 64 Veterans Community:
• Allows for on-site services provided by VMC for the residents including space for social interaction and communication. It is through this design of co-locating affordable housing, services, and communal space, our Veterans will have the best opportunity to create successful, independent lives.
• Completes a multi-phase economic and community revitalization initiative within Fairhill, anchoring the activity from the surrounding commercial corridor and the repurposing of a vacant school building into 66 affordable housing units.
• Is an innovative development partnership between a seasoned developer (Orens Brothers Real Estate, Inc.), a local nonprofit with a long history of serving veterans (Veterans Multi-Service Center), and a neighborhood, minority owned, developer uniquely experienced developing in challenging and emerging markets (Mosaic Development Partners). The use of this dynamic development partnership capitalizes on the strengths of each partner bringing tremendous value to the project.
Col. Timothy Williams retires and Joe Brooks is selected as the next Executive Director of VMC. Joe Brooks is a non-profit professional with nearly two decades of leadership experience in this business sector. Prior to joining VMC as its Executive Director, Joe served as President and CEO for the USO of Pennsylvania & Southern NJ for a decade.
Edison 64 Veterans Community celebrates its official Grand Opening on February 18th. The building itself secured its place in history a long time ago. Edison High School recorded the most casualties – 64 in total – of any high school during the Vietnam War. The current structure includes a section of the original HS. The “Edison 64” is now a veteran community, offering affordable housing with preference to those who served. Its Grand Opening attracted dignitaries from around the city, and brought many veterans “home.”
While COVID shakes the world, VMC remained on the frontlines of serving our most vulnerable Veteran populations. While most of the Nation shelters in place, VMC staff continue to provide life essential services – rooted in dignity and care and compassion – through our coordinated street outreach efforts, meals and housing at ALL of our VMC facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
After 7 years in operation, the VMC Thrift Store closed. Originally purposed as a space to collect and distribute donations to transitioning Veterans and provide an opportunity for Veterans in need of employment to fill gaps on their resume. After many management decisions designed to make the Thrift Store a self-sustaining operation significant operating loses mandated a closure. The thrift store closed its doors on March 12th following PA Governor Tom Wolf ordered the shuttering of all non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VMC stood up a 24 hour Call Center to handle emergency housing matters created by the COVID pandemic. Based at our Millville NJ offices, the Call Center was made possible by CARES Act funding. In addition to the new Call Center, VMC was also apple to expand legal and financial planning assistance and partnerships. The Call Center became operational on June 29th.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded VMC two The Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program1 (HVRP) grants totaling $666,394.74. The grant dollars will be spent in Philadelphia county and the Central Pennsylvania counties of Clinton, Lycoming, Center, Mifflin, Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Juniata, Franklin, Fulton, and Dauphin. Through the services provided, homeless veterans may learn occupational skills, attain apprenticeships or on-the-job training opportunities and receive job search and placement assistance. The grants dramatically impact our ability to help veterans families find work. The grants, submitted in April, were awarded July 1st.
VMC is proud to announce expansion of our geographical outreach and impact in two additional Pennsylvania counties —Dauphin and Lebanon. Now offering robust services to 20-out-of-67 Pennsylvania counties, PA is one of the largest states with among the highest Veteran populations nationally. This growth continues our mission of providing unparalleled comprehensive services to Veteran families throughout PA, DE and SNJ, with a focus on sustainable housing and hunger.
VMC opens NEW coordinated entry site in the state of Delaware. Veterans should take time to participate in coordinated entry intake. Veterans and their families who take the time to receive Coordinated Entry Intake will have access to the greatest number of housing and homeless services and resources available throughout the CoC.
Every Veteran and their family who receives a proper Coordinated Entry Intake helps the CoC create more accurate data about the depth, severity, and unmet needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness – which can lead to more system funding and public awareness. Veterans and their families who take the time to receive Coordinated Entry Intake will have access to the greatest number of housing and homeless services and resources available throughout the CoC. Every Veteran and their family who receives a proper Coordinated Entry Intake helps the CoC create more accurate data about the depth, severity, and unmet needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness – which can lead to more system funding and public awareness.
Veterans can access the NEW VMC coordinated entry access site, Veterans and their families who call 211 will be warm-transferred to Veterans Multi-Service Center if a 211 Call Center Specialist cannot answer their call in a timely manner (keeping in mind the demand for our Call Center services grew by 71% between 2019 and 2020). VMC’s Coordinated Entry Specialist will return calls from Veterans and their families as quickly as possible if they cannot be helped right away.
91% of every donation directly supports our Veteran Community!
The VMC is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization | EIN/Tax ID: 23-2764079 | United Way Donor Option #4308 | CFC Donor Option #48126