HVAF opens new computer lab

A new computer lab will provide area veterans easier access to job searches. GTECH Indiana, in partnership with the Hoosier Lottery, plan to open the first GTECH Indiana Technology Lab at HVAF and will host a special dedication ceremony to celebrate the lab’s official opening on Monday, August 12, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.  GTECH Indiana is the integrated services provider to the Hoosier Lottery.

“This computer lab will be one more lifeline for our veterans to utilize together. In many cases it will mean an outlet for continued education, applying for veterans benefits, communications and connecting with friends and relatives,” says HVAF President & CEO Charles Haenlein.
As part of the $15,000 donation, HVAF received eight Dell desktop computers, two Dell SonicWALLs, a RICOH all-in-one printer, and a variety of software, courtesy of Microsoft. The Technology Lab will be made available to HVAF veterans to conduct job searches and apply for positions online, take online college courses, and better their computer skills.

Army veteran James S. says the computer lab is more convenient than waiting in line at the library.

“I graduated from the recovery program last month and have started looking for work in security and this computer lab could not have come at a better time,” says James.

GTECH Indiana and the Hoosier Lottery plan to donate another lab to HVAF’s Moreau property in the fall.

Hundreds of veteran families to benefit through new funding

United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) was recently awarded a $1,347,519 grant for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The award continues a program that got underway in Central Indiana in 2011 and has since helped more than 300 households.

“Because of the SSVF grants, HVAF will be able to provide a range of services that promote self-sufficiency among veterans and their families,” says HVAF President & CEO Charles Haenlein. “SSVF helps with transportation and bill paying.”

SSVF aims to prevent at-risk veterans from becoming homeless and to rapidly re-house those who recently became homeless through services promoting housing stability and connecting veterans and their families to mental health care and other benefits to which they are entitled.

The new funding will benefit approximately 400 veterans and their families in Central Indiana. It can be used to offer temporary financial assistance to veterans for rent and utility payments, security deposits and moving costs. HVAF and HealthNet Homeless Initiative Program administer the services locally.

In 2012, 187 households received assistance through HVAF’s SSVF program which included helping eligible veterans and families with outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits. Qualified clients also received assistance with budgeting and creating a stability plan and some veterans were also eligible for limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers) when these payments helped veterans and families maintain or acquire permanent housing.

This is the third year SSVF grants have helped veterans and their families find or remain in their homes. 

Volunteer spotlight: Volunteer Builds Bible Study

Volunteer Tom Harris, 71, a retired Vietnam veteran wanted to make a difference by helping make the transition from military life to civilian life easier by creating a Bible Study group at HVAF.

“We feel that veterans are spiritually disconnected which adds to the difficulty in transition,” says Tom. “My goal is to help veterans reconnect who are walking in spiritual darkness to walk in the light of God.”

Tom worked at the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration Readjustment Counseling Program also known as the Vet Center and is an active member at Capitol City 7th Day Adventist Church.

“Starting a Bible Study group is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Tom. “Even though we didn’t have a lot of veterans in our church we had a lot of their family there. It was important to let those family members know that we care about their families.”

James Miller, an Airforce veteran and HVAF Peer Counselor, initially met with Tom.

“We wanted to make sure he was coming from scripture,” says James. “Turning to a higher power was necessary for me in my own personal drug addiction recovery and I was excited to be able to share this with our clients.”

Both James and Tom agree that spiritual stressors are subtle and generate far less attention than physical and mental stressors. However, spiritual stressors are significant and can cause permanent life changes for those who serve or served in combat.

Many veterans return home to face harsh realities of struggling families, unemployment and even homelessness. Battle wounds can be treated and even recognized with medals. But spiritual and emotional wounds, if left unaddressed, can linger for a lifetime.

Next month, Harris will begin holding Bible Study with HVAF's recovery veterans.


Groups partner to offer legal services to HVAF veterans

Many veterans who served in combat zones are confronting legal problems such as child custody, employment and homelessness. Now through a new partnership with Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, HVAF will provide legal services to its veterans. This has the potential to become a model for other agencies serving the homeless.

At a special ceremony on July 11, Charles Haenlein of HVAF and Josh Abel, of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, signed the agreement that will provide ongoing legal services to homeless veterans at HVAF.

On July 17, reporter Marilyn Odendahl with The Indiana Lawyer reported the story.

Read the full story here


HVAF Case Manager featured in Indy Star story

HVAF Case Manager Abby Hardin escorted soldiers through the deserts of the Middle East. She guarded ammunition and bombs. She handled lethal weapons. But finding a job was a new battle.

On Sunday, July 7, Indianapolis Star reporter Laura Newberry interviewed Abby for a story on the struggles Indiana veterans face in finding employment.

Several agencies were quoted in the story including Jim Brown, director of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs; Jason Hansman, senior program manager at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Jim Bauerle, legislative chairman for the Military Veterans Coalition of Indiana; Charlie McBride, program director at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Doug Gibbens, chairman for the Indiana chapter of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Read the full story here:

HVAF Celebrating 20 Years & Beyond was a success!

HVAF thanks all of its supporters who came out to join its Board of Directors, staff and volunteers for HVAF Celebrating 20 Years & Beyond fundraiser dinner event. The event celebrated two decades of serving homeless veterans and their families and was held on June 13 at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Angela Buchman served as event Emcee. Joe Kernan, the 48th Governor of Indiana, was the Keynote Speaker and spoke of his personal experiences in United States Navy in 1969.

The fundraiser included a silent auction with items ranging from jewelry to hotel stays. Great conversation was had over appetizers during a cocktail hour. Through the event, HVAF was able to spread the word about its programs and services and the impact had on veterans. The event raised more than forty-eight thousand dollars.

HVAF's mission is to eliminate homelessness among veterans and their families through education, prevention, supportive services and advocacy.

HVAF looks forward to sharing with you our future successes. Don’t forget to visit HVAF's Facebook and Twitter pages to find out how you can get involved today.

View photos from the evening below.

Created with flickr slideshow.