04 February 2009

Soldiers' Angels VA Team touches lives of homeless veterans

The email below from a VA Case Manager (which I have edited slightly and added emphasis) was sent to Louise Stanley of SA's Sacramento VA Team Chapter and shared with this note:

Angels, I asked Sadania to share an update with us to let you know just how all your support has made a REAL DIFFERENCE in the lives of previously homeless veterans and their families in our neighborhoods. I'm sure this will put a smile on your face!

In addition to the veterans we are currently supporting through this program, they are scheduled to receive another 175 vouchers in 2009. In order to be in a position to continue supporting the move-in costs for these heroes and their families, I'll be announcing some fund-raising programs soon that you can help us with... :)

If you'd like to make a donation at any time, click here.

Thank you for all your love and support of our local veterans!

Hello Soldiers' Angels,

I have been appointed the HUD-VASH (Veteran Affairs Supported Housing) Case Manager for the 35 Veterans chosen to participate in this exciting new program.

Thanks to Soldiers' Angels we have been able to be a part of ensuring we honor the sacred trust to care for our nation’s veterans. Of the 35 we accepted into the program, 27 veterans have vouchers in hand. We have 18 currently searching for housing, and 9 veterans have successfully moved into new homes.

One was a family of four with small children (age 2 and 6 months). I will call them the "A" family. They were able to get in their home before Christmas, and had their tree up in their new home. We were also able to secure furniture for them from a donation in the community. Another family, the "B" family, moved into their home, they are an older couple. They were able to move into their home for the new year, and are closer to services as well.

We have two veterans, who are disabled who were able to move into the same apartment complex across from a fishing harbor. One veteran found a nice 1 bedroom home, he was a chef and was very excited about being able to cook his own meals. One veteran since moving into his new home, is reuniting with his family, a wife and daughter.

We have one veteran, Mr. C, who has his move-in check from Soldiers' Angels and is expecting to move-in any day now. When I met him, he was very depressed and discouraged. He has two school aged children, who will visit when he has a home. He is trained in carpentry, however, effects of his experience prevented him from moving forward. He was very discouraged, but found a two bedroom apartment, that qualifies under his voucher. He was adamant about finding a two bedroom, because he said he wanted a place his children could come and visit him, where he could be a father. He was very conscious of what environment he would be living in, and his children would visit. His daughter is being considered for a prestigious dance school and scholarship. He has spoken of this with pride, and he wanted to have a place and be a father she could respect.

The housing market is tough for our homeless veterans, we are facing many obstacles. Property managers and landlords, want people with money in hand, and if it were not for Soldiers' Angels, Mr. C and all the others would have missed this opportunity.

As the case manager, I participate in conference calls with HUD-VASH case managers around the state, and there are veterans whose vouchers are expiring because they do not have the money for move-in costs. One of my veterans was collecting cans to pay for a copy of his birth certificate so that he can obtain his voucher.

This is a wonderful program for our veterans, however, it was not accompanied with funding for move-in costs, furniture, dishes, plates, etc. As a federal employee, I cannot solicit funds from corporations. So we have been depending on the hearts, dedication, and determination of Americans like you who are willing to assist those who served us, who sacrificed, and still sacrifice daily for us.

When you honor them, you honor that sacred trust they put in us all that, we were worth their sacrifice, that we are the fruit of their sacrifice. I can tell you that working with these veterans is my honor; they are receptive when I asked them for things, ready for change, and a new beginning. Thank you for giving them that new beginning.

We face some challenges ahead in assisting our veterans. One challenge will continue to be assisting with move-in costs. We are also looking for property managers willing to work with our veterans, and specifically veterans who were homeless (who may have had challenges in the past that effected their credit report). We have found some, and I am trying to capitalize on that, but we are hoping to find more, as we have so many searching, and we want every single one to have a home.

I hope this email will help those Angels out there know they do not labor in vain, but much the opposite; you are making futures brighter, reuniting families, and repairing the pride of those who wore the uniform for us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, on behalf of the veterans we are serving together. Thank you.


Sadania Gibbons, LCSW
Dept.of Veteran Affairs

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