The Lifeline for Vets helps homeless veterans find housing solutions.
Information Services Representative Steve Duby took a call from a homeless Airforce veteran in Chicago, calling from a
payphone. She was discharged two years ago. The veteran, a military sexual trauma survivor, had been staying in local shelters. Steve did some research and found three different resources helping homeless veterans in the area and connected her with one of them. Steve let her know that if they couldn’t help her to call back and he would keep looking. Two days later she called. One of the places had helped her get a furnished apartment, and provided her with first, last and a rental deposit. She was able to move in immediately. The agency is now helping her get a job.
Kristine Hesse is the NVF’s Women Veterans Outreach Coordinator, focusing on services for the needs of women vets.
A payment error at Social Security created a situation where a Vietnam veteran was unable to pay her rent. Active 1972 – 1985, she’d been Army Reserve until 1992, and now was in danger of being evicted. She contacted the rental agency right away and they were not willing to work with her even though she had lived there for over 13 years. The situation was complicated by the fact that her housing was under rent-control. Those units are hard to find in a large urban area. She told her VA case manager who contacted Kristine Hesse. Kristine connected her with the office of Congressman Tony Cardenas. Cardenas’s staff did an emergency inquiry to Social Security and got the problem resolved. To bridge the gap before the funds arrived, the Salvation Army Haven supported her with funds. But that didn’t solve the problem. The landlords would not accept third party checks. Hesse says this is a huge problem in Los Angeles. Non-profit organizations have the funds to help people in need, but many, if not most, landlords will not accept third party checks. In the end, the congressman’s office paid from an emergency fund to pay the missed rent. Because the NVF was able to enlist the efforts of several people, the veteran is back on track.
The NVF assists veterans of all eras, regardless of their discharge status.
Operations Director Rich Rudnick took a call from the wife of a decorated two-tour Vietnam veteran living in Northern California. She called in tears looking for help with her husband’s PTSD symptoms and the fact that they were about to be evicted from a property where they have lived for more than 40 years. The house had recently been sold to a new owner who wanted them out of the apartment. Because of his PTSD the Veteran can’t work and due to his discharge, he isn’t eligible for disability benefits. Rich got the veteran on the phone and found out the couple had been approved for a Section 8 voucher, but he told Rich they couldn’t find a place in their area that would take it. After four days of working on the problem, Rich set up a conference call with the family and a local organization that helps veterans find housing, and referred them to a program that would treat the veteran for his PTSD. The family has a new home now and the veteran is in treatment.
NVF President & Founder Shad Meshad is a trained psychologist and one of the first counselors to begin diagnosing and treating PTSD. He still takes Lifeline for Vets calls every day.
Family members of an Iraq-Afghanistan vet still in the military were concerned as their loved one became more and more controlling and non-communicative. Worse, he was stationed over 1500 miles away. His marriage was coming apart, as he was. The family decided that an intervention was needed. A family friend knew about the Lifeline for Vets and suggested they call us first. The call was handed off to Shad, who talked to a family member and offered suggestions to relieve some of the tension rather than increase it by a radical intervention. Shad made sure the wife knew about the Vet Center as a resource as well as the VA. He spoke plainly about defusing the situation so as not exacerbate it and make it even more difficult for the vet to seek help. The family decided not to confront their loved one, but rather to find ways to support him and his wife and to encourage them to seek help, which they did.
The Lifeline for Vets assists the family members of veterans as well as former service members with veteran related issues.
Information Services Representative Wendell Guillermo took a call from the son of a World War II Veteran whose father had passed away recently. The son was trying to put together a history of his father’s service and was looking for help getting copies of his discharge papers. Wendell called the National Archives and, after some research on their end, was told the records weren’t available, possibly due to a fire in one of the records offices many years ago. They offered to do some more in depth research for a fee, which Wendell sent them. The National Archives were able to find the veterans discharge papers which showed that the man’s father had been a decorated combat veteran, and Wendell got the records to a very grateful son.
If you know a veteran who needs assistance with medical treatment, PTSD counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment, training, legal aid, suicide intervention, or any other transitional issue, call the Lifeline for Vets at 888-777-4443.
We’ve gone paperless! For more than 30 years, the National Veterans Foundation has mailed out a printed newsletter for Memorial Day. To save some trees and funds (that we can now use to help more veterans), our newsletter will now be electronic only. But if you miss the look of our traditional newsletter, fear not. Just click here.
2016 Memorial Day Newsletter
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.