Veteran at HVAF finds health, housing and employment assistance

Two centuries ago Theodore Roosevelt said, "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." But finding good work today can be harder than ever, especially for today's U.S. veterans who are increasingly returning from war after suffering physical and mental trauma.

Mike at Advantage Marketing
For Mike F., 42, it was mental health challenges that jeopardized his job security and housing stability.

"I had been dealing with some pretty severe mental health issues and had been on disability over the last 15 years," says Mike. "But, I really wanted to change my life around."

Mike arrived at HVAF in July 2013 in need of housing and on his path to turning his life around he met Case Manager Lindsey Bennett. She works with veterans being impacted by unemployment, homelessness and other life pressures as a consequence of PTSD and other mental illness. Bennett's team leads the HVAF Critical Time Intervention program, which provides intensive case management services and other unique services to veterans living with persistent mental illness.

"We're assessing men and women intensively and individually to understand their particular needs - counseling, treatment, and referrals," Lindsey says. "We are supporting them in a way that empowers them to put their lives back together as much as possible and get a job. You have to have tenacity in this work, because mental health treatment is a constant and there always exists the possibility of relapse as we had in Mike's case," Lindsey says.

But Mike and his HVAF support team persisted. In April 2014, Mike attended a job fair at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. A few weeks later, he received an interview and was offered a job at Advantage Marketing in its sales department.

"Mike's personality and enthusiasm for the job won us over," says President Bob Bonwell of Advantage Marketing. "Mike shows up to work each morning ready to go and he has a positive attitude. As a veteran myself I value Mike's work ethic."

"Everything HVAF has done for me has led me to where I am now - employed," Mike says.