The DV Farm Operated by Vets for Vets working together to reintegrate back into civilian life.
The DV Farm is a US 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by former homeless veteran, Michael Rivers. Operated by vets for vets, the DV Farm provides practical rehab for homeless veterans via a combined program of housing & meals, animal assisted therapy, a structured work schedule and the camaraderie of fellow vets working together to reintegrate back into civilian life.
We provide Temporary Housing
According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on any given night approximately 50,000 veterans are without shelter. While the government continues to acknowledge that there is an immediate need to address this issue we cannot sit idly by waiting for a solution.
The DV Farm is designed to be a temporary housing facility that will address the needs of veterans who do not have the means to generate a stable living situation for themselves. Along with accommodation the farm also provides a stable food program to ensure that residents’ nutritional needs are properly met.
We provide Rehab
50% of veterans require treatment for mental health disorders induced by PTSD. Aside from the trauma of war, one reason why so many veterans suffer from PTSD is simple: technology and modern medicine. As our ability to protect life with modern ballistic defenses AND save life with emergency medical advances, then the number of returning veterans who may not have lived through their experiences in previous conflicts, also increases. The resultant "survivor" trauma is a serious mental burden and requires proper care and support. At the DV Farm we directly address the rehabilitation needs of our veterans as well as insure their scheduled VA appointments are attended.
We provide Family
The DV farm is not dependent on any state or federal financial programs. This enables the farm to meet the needs of veterans without being subjected to bureaucratic regulations or strong arm tactics for funding. This means the DV Farm is free to develop a family ethos whereby a tough-love approach cements the teamwork necessary for effective farm management.
With a regimen and responsibility for the welfare of fellow vets, care for the animals in our care and nurture of the land, resident vets find honest purpose in the daily tasks of homesteading and thereby a road to recovery.
We provide Camaraderie
The definition of camaraderie is “mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together”. Nowhere is this more exemplified than in the military where men and women work together in teams throwing themselves into situations of extreme violence during battle, witness their combat brothers and sisters suffer injury and death, are subjected to physical hardships no civilian would willingly endure and encounter scenes where innocents have been subjected to the brutality of combatants.
Despite all that, one of the greatest challenges in a soldiers life is the withdrawal of that camaraderie which takes place during their return to civilian life. Many times a veteran will never see their military brothers and sisters after their discharge - nor enjoy the banter and humor that sustains them - much is lost and this creates a terrible void. Grief, addiction, suicide and homelessness are all too often the result of that loss. At the DV Farm we replace that to restore the foundation so critical for healing.
We provide Animal Assisted Therapy
What is animal therapy? By definition, it is known as Animal Assisted Therapy and utilizes trained animals and handlers to achieve specific physical, social, cognitive and emotional goals with DV FARM residents. In a more simplified definition, we provide a distraction from PTSD and promote healing for functionality in everyday life.
Wilson's (1984) biophilia hypothesis is based on the premise that our attachment to and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that now, if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible.
Responsibility, Health & Structure
Being given responsibilities fosters teamwork in our DV Farm residents. Rehab requires responsibility. A responsible person is one who is able to act without guidance or supervision, because he or she is accountable and answerable for his or her behavior. Such a person can be trusted or depended upon to do things on his or her own. Such a person will follow through on obligations and integrate more fluidly back into civilian life.
At the DV Farm we provide our residents with a healthy balanced nutritional program. A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts or the wrong foods.
At the DV Farm we promote structure and routine. Structure often connotes rigidity and dullness, but it is in fact beneficial to major aspects of life including the physical, emotional, social and career pattern of recovering residents. When structure breaks down, people get easily overwhelmed and worry stands in the way of productive action and recovery. On the Farm structure saves time and brings order. Like habit and routine, it frees the mind of clutter and is an important element in the reclamation of physical and mental health.