Friend, help us decide what’s next

Your contribution of $1,000 a year through Friends of HVAF can furnish an apartment for a veteran for one year. When you become a Friend of HVAF, you are more than a donor. You are a partner. A partner in our shared work to return honorable U.S. military veterans to self-sufficiency after living through homelessness, substance abuse and other life challenges.

HVAF created the Friends of HVAF program to steward special partnerships with people and organizations who want a unique opportunity to serve the brave men and women who have served all of us.

Corporate Annual Levels

Benefits: Newsletter feature story, highlighted in Annual Meeting, leading role for spokesperson at HVAF events or media interviews, and your name or company listed as a sponsor on the HVAF website on the Friends of HVAF page.

Provides a veteran with housing, basic needs, transportation, case management, food and clothing and employment assistance for one year

Provides a veteran with housing, basic needs, case management for one year

Provides a veteran with housing and basic needs for one year

Individual Annual Levels

Furnishes apartment for a veteran for one year
Benefits: Newsletter feature story, highlighted in Annual Meeting. Your name or company listed as a sponsor on the HVAF website on the Friends of HVAF page

Clothing for a veteran for one year
Benefits: You will be highlighted in HVAF’s Annual Meeting. Your name or company listed as a sponsor on the HVAF website on the Friends of HVAF page

One month of nutritious meals for a veteran
Benefit: Your name or company listed as a sponsor on the HVAF website on the Friends of HVAF page

Essential hygiene items for a veteran for one month
Benefit: Your name or company listed as a sponsor on the HVAF website on the Friends of HVAF page



A new smile through new dental partnership

Leah T. is anxious to look into the mirror and see a smile full of healthy teeth for the first time in years.

Leah T.
This month, Leah will sit in a chair at the IU School of Dentistry, where she will get a dental examination and treatment, her first in five years, thanks to a new partnership between the School and HVAF. The 44-year-old Army veteran says years of being homeless and having no insurance led her to neglect her teeth.

“Our goal is to help the veterans become more employable by giving them the kind of dental appearance needed for jobs in the public eye,” said Karen Yoder, director of civic engagement and health policy and a professor of preventive and community dentistry.

The School has been working with case managers at HVAF to identify veterans with positive job prospects. The idea is to alleviate pain, improve health and boost self-esteem. Surveys show the first thing people look at is your smile, and these first impressions can create lasting ones.

“A person without front teeth, for example, is likely to find it difficult to be hired for a job in a restaurant,” Yoder said.

Yoder applied for and received a $12,000 grant from the Dental Pipeline National Learning Institute for the HVAF partnership. The IUPUI Solution Center granted an additional $20,000.  The funds will be used to cover the costs of dental laboratory and oral surgery fees. 

When Dr. Yoder researched the limited dental care that many veterans receive, she immediately took on this project.

“Our goal is not to make anyone glamorous, just aesthetically prepared for a job interview,” Yoder said.

“This is a tremendous benefit to our clients and they are all very excited about their upcoming dentistry appointments,” says Bryan Dysert, Director of Programs and Services at HVAF.

Criteria for the dental program include official discharge documentation, a previous record of employment and a desire to become employed. Participants must also agree to align with a social service agency that supports learning and display personal qualities that tend to sustain employment.

Leah is just weeks away from her appointment, but she’s counting down the days on the calendar.

"This will change my look and self-confidence and hopefully land me a new job," she says.

More than ten veterans have already been identified to benefit from dental work through IU.

Easier job access for veterans

While the country is climbing out of recession, there are a disproportionate number of military veterans still looking for jobs. HVAF has partnered with GTECH Indiana to give formally homeless veterans new and powerful tools as they seek new jobs and opportunities to return to self-sufficiency.

GTECH Indiana, in partnership with the Hoosier Lottery and Microsoft, will cut the ribbon for the second GTECH Indiana Computer Lab at an HVAF property on February 25 at the Donald W. Moreau, Sr., Veterans House where 39 veterans call home.

The Technology Lab will benefit veterans and their families by providing them a means to conduct job searches, apply for employment online, complete online courses, and contact the Veterans Hospital and Veterans Administration sites for assistance.

Tyrone F.
The new technology lab will help veterans like 51-year-old Tyrone F., a 6-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves who came to HVAF in February of 2013 with an addiction to alcohol but a willingness to beat homelessness. Access to the first GTECH lab at HVAF helped Tyrone recently secure a job with the Westin Hotel Indianapolis.

“I used the computer lab for a number of different reasons in addition to job search,” says Tyrone, who was hired as a security officer. “I have my renewed my license, birth certificate, and completed the online process to receive my high school diploma. And I was able to create a new email account to get in touch with employees, use a flash drive and update my resume.”

“I was able to tap into so much having easier access to the Internet and it’s also helped me stay focused on my sobriety,” Tyrone says.

GTECH Indiana, in partnership with the Hoosier Lottery, launched its first GTECH Indiana Technology Lab at HVAF in August 2013.

For more information on the ribbon cutting, please RSVP to Debra Des Vignes, VP of marketing and communications at 317-333-8976 or ddesvignes@hvaf.org.

Living the MLK legacy with service to homeless veterans

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"

Students representing the IUPUI Black Student Union with other volunteers from the university's Black Faculty and Staff Council will answer that question on the 13th Annual MLK Day of Service, Jan. 20, when they provide vital service to HVAF and the homeless veterans we provide for each day.

"Our volunteers come to HVAF to honor Dr. King's legacy through service," says Jen Halford, Assistant Director of Community Service and Civic Engagement at IUPUI's Office of Student Involvement. "It is only through the help of our dedicated community partners, like HVAF, that we are able to enlighten our students with the understanding that there are many social movements continuing today that need their help and empowers them to do it."

For their service work at HVAF, the IUPUI team will deep clean floors in the HVAF headquarters' basement and warehouse. It's crucially important to keep these spaces clean because clothing and other basic needs donations for homeless veterans are stored in these areas prior to distribution.

"We are proud to host the IUPUI team as they honor the MLK legacy with service to our military veterans," says Debra Des Vignes, VP of marketing and communications. "At the root of Dr. King's messages were the ideals that people provide service to others and pursue freedom and equality for all, and no group has sacrificed more to uphold these ideals than our U.S. military members."

If you or your organization would like to volunteer at HVAF, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Tina Mullins at tmullins@hvaf.org or 317-951-0688.


HVAF partners with Midwest Food Bank

Oftentimes, veterans come to HVAF with nothing but the clothes on their back and entering a new year is no different. To help, Midwest Food Bank is partnering with HVAF for the first time to supply over 4000 pounds of food and hygiene items once a month for its more than 200 homeless veterans.

The Center for American Progress estimates that 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

"We believe it's important to address the specific needs of veterans," says John Whitaker, Executive Director of Midwest Food Bank. "As Americans, we must remember and recognize the sacrifices they have made for our country, and making sure veterans have shelter and warms meals is a simple yet critical way we can do that."

Through Midwest Food Bank, HVAF qualifies to receive much needed relief of goods each month. HVAF provides three meals a day for veterans who are getting back on their feet after facing homelessness.

"I was homeless. I had no idea where I was going to get my next meal and there's nothing worse than waking up hungry, cold, tired and just not knowing what you're going to do the next day," said Ken N.

Meals provided by Midwest Food Bank will help veterans like Ken by filling the HVAF food pantry.

"Certainly during the holidays the need is great, but the need is great throughout the year and many people forget this as we enter into the new year," says Ron Shelley, HVAF's COO.  We encourage all Hoosier residents to keep HVAF in their thoughts and support our veterans and to donate."

HVAF also provides and distributes food, clothing, and hygiene items to 200 additional homeless veterans each week through outreach efforts.

You can help contribute as well. Click here to make your on-line donation. http://www.hvafofindiana.org/take-action/