Showing Up for Mental Health at Mather Veterans Village

Portrait of Shannon, holding a dog
Shannon, who was stationed in Alaska and Hawaii during her time in the Navy, now calls Mather home and volunteers with Nation’s Finest. She enjoyed the Mental Health Fair with pup, Benny, in tow.

On Wednesday, August 11, for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the grounds at Mather Veterans Village in Rancho Cordova teemed with residents, neighbors, resource providers, and a small cadre of loyal canines. More than one hundred community members strolled from booth to booth, connecting with 22 different exhibitors at Mather’s first-ever in-person Mental Health Fair organized by partner organization Nation’s Finest.

Mercy Housing California broke ground at Mather in 2014, completing the first phase of the permanent supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness in 2016 and wrapping up the final phase last year. The community was dedicated on October 12. Today, a close-knit community of 100 veterans call Mather home, and Nation’s Finest provides free case management, counseling, resource navigation support, and organized social opportunities for residents.

“I think that most veterans suffer from some type of mental health situation, whether it’s post-traumatic stress disorder from their time in the military or chronic homelessness, and those things can really affect their progress. Those things cut people off from their families and support systems. So, one thing we’re always working on is rebuilding trust and positive relationships,” explained Leanna Deaton, Outreach Case Manager at Nation’s Finest, who took the lead on organizing the Mental Health Fair.

“It’s been a great place to live. I’ve found my way here.”
— Shannon, Mercy Housing resident


The event lasted just three hours, but Mather residents count on the support and partnership of Nation’s Finest 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “Our goal is to expand access to a variety of resources that might benefit veterans in a positive way and help them to thrive,” Leanna said.

That goal was on full display at the Mental Health Fair, where Mather residents enjoyed complimentary root beer floats and plates of barbecue in the shade after touring the event’s many resource booths touting job fairs, support groups, and affordable healthcare. Old friends dined together and introduced themselves to new neighbors, and case managers mingled comfortably with their clients. All who attended got to witness the very best of what permanent supportive housing can provide: a place where thriving, diverse communities of residents can get what they need to achieve their dreams.