Register for the Freedom Ride to benefit homeless veterans

Support HVAF and its homeless veterans by participating in the Freedom Ride on Saturday, August 23. The police-escorted ride begins at the American Legion Post 64. Riders will travel south to Kentucky Avenue and head north near the Indianapolis International Airport and continue north. Riders will pass the Indy 500 track and move through Eagle Creek Park before heading back to Post 64. Once the riders return to the post a catered lunch will be enjoyed with vendors and entertainment.

Enterprise Indiana volunteers at HVAF to help homeless veterans

Enterprise Indiana sent out a crew of 17 interns and 3 staff members to volunteer inside HVAF’s warehouse on June 11. The team jumped in to help move pallets and re-organize the warehouse to ensure the supplies fit.  

Volunteers with Enterprise Indiana volunteer at HVAF of Indiana
Enterprise has a long-standing tradition of helping local communities, partnering with United Way agencies like HVAF and other charitable organizations. The company chose to support HVAF because of its long military heritage. (The company was founded in 1957 by World War II Veteran Jack Taylor based on lessons he learned while serving in the Navy).

We actually had not heard about HVAF prior to our service day there,” says Heather Kahl, PHR, talent acquisition manager. “When reaching out to the United Way to schedule our volunteer day, we asked them for more than one option for volunteering so we could choose what would be most meaningful to us, and it was a no brainer when we knew we would be assisting veterans.”

HVAF Board Member raises awareness of HVAF

HVAF Board Member Louise Loyd (left) with
Randen Miller of HVAF and Rita Sullivan (right)
A surprise visit made by HVAF Board Member Louise Loyd and her friend, Rita Sullivan, who had been collecting donations, couldn’t have come at a better time. The women delivered a truck filled with hygiene items just as our warehouse was running low on things like soap and tooth brushes.

Rita worked with Belterra Casino and Resort in Florence, Indiana to secure the 2-thousand dollars in hygiene items.

“All of these items will be put to good use by families in our community,” said Debra Des Vignes, VP of Marketing for HVAF. “We are grateful to all of the people at Belterra Casino and Resort for their time, effort and donations.”

Three weeks after the hygiene items delivery, Louise presented HVAF with a check for $1,000 from Bethel United Methodist Church at HVAF’s Annual Meeting. The church held its 3rd annual community service program recently and Louise’s friends, John and Dee Decaris, selected HVAF as the program recipient again this year.

Fundraiser to benefit homeless veterans

Judy Holmes, with Carmel American Legion Post 155, never misses an opportunity to support HVAF.

At the beginning of each year Judy along with her team calls us and coordinates a Summer Car Wash fundraiser to benefit HVAF’s recovery program. Along with this 4th annual car wash fundraiser held on June 28, she also held a cook-out for the veterans that same day.

“Our Auxiliary and Post feel it is the least we can do to help the men and women who have given so much from their lives to protect our country and freedom,” says Judy. “I couldn't do it without the team at the Auxiliary...and it makes our hearts fill with pride and joy to be able to help in our small way.”

2013 Car Wash Fundraiser to benefit HVAF
The group has previously collected donations ranging from personal items, food, cleaning supplies and clothing as well as raised much-needed funds for housing improvements.

Last year, the Post purchased air purifiers and fire extinguishers for HVAF properties and bus passes for our veterans. All of these donated items allow HVAF to use its existing resources in other crucial areas.

Judy’s Auxiliary was formed out of a committee four years ago with the sole purpose of helping HVAF. Judy works alongside 7 women who are equally passionate.

Judy’s husband is a Vietnam veteran and her father served in WWII. Her thought on volunteering with veterans is that the act should never be done for praise, recognition or any type of reward.

“The reward of gratitude, appreciation and love that you get when volunteering or giving back is enormous,” says Judy. “I can say that I and my fellow committee members have been teary-eyed on a number of occasions when we’ve connected with the veterans at HVAF. These veterans always have a smile for us.”

Car Wash information:
852 W. Main Street, Carmel 46032 
Saturday, June 28 from 10-2 p.m. 

Homeless veteran in Indianapolis fights cancer

For Jeff, and hundreds like him, a roof over his head is the first step toward a better life.

The Bay City, MI native joined the Army in 1983 and served for 5 years. He later drifted through a slew of managerial jobs in Indianapolis and Michigan before things began to unravel.
Jeff at HVAF of Indiana
At a 2012 doctor’s appointment, medical staff told Jeff he had follicular lymphoma cancer. Mounting medical costs led to homelessness, and Jeff, living day to day, struggled to maintain a home and transportation to and from medical appointments.

"I'm just trying to get some stability," he says.

Jeff receives housing through HVAF, calling Manchester Apartments home. He also receives individual support from case manager Jennifer Smith, who has utilized the wide-range of assistance offered by HVAF to provide Jeff with food, clothing and hygiene items.

“My case manager has helped me tremendously,” says Jeff. “I’m very upfront and honest with her, and I have laughed with her and cried with her.”

When Jeff moves into his own apartment in July, HVAF will provide assistance by covering his administrative move-in fee. He’s also receiving legal support through HVAF's partnership with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic to help him sort through legal issues such as child support and speeding tickets. He has already set up monthly payments in order to get his license back. In turn, HVAF's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program can then assist with car repairs.

Jeff has qualified for additional help through SSVF to secure permanent housing. Jeff also receives a HUDVASH voucher which is part of an affordable housing program in which the client pays roughly 20% of his/her income to be able to maintain permanent housing. 

SSVF also has provided Jeff with a utility deposit, security deposit, and a bus pass. Jeff will remain in SSVF for a short period of time to ensure that client transition into permanent housing is successful.

Disabled American Veterans Indiana Service Foundation donates funds to HVAF to support veterans

A $15,000 donation from the Disabled American Veterans Indiana Service Foundation will help HVAF continue to operate three properties for homeless veterans that do not receive annual grant support through other sources.

“After talking to HVAF President/CEO Dr. Charles Haenlein, we felt our resources could go a long way in changing the lives of veterans at these three HVAF facilities,” says Mike Whelihan of the DAVISF. “The $5,000 we pledged to each of the three properties will cover costs related to utilities, general maintenance and landscaping, and we are proud to help provide quality shelter for these homeless heroes.”

HVAF houses more than 200 veterans across Central Indiana and each property is unique. We thank Mike and the rest of his peers at the DAVISF for helping support our comprehensive services to return veterans to self-sufficiency.
Mike Whelihan with DAVISF with Dr. Charles Haenlein

HVAF Board Member is recognized for outstanding service to veterans

HVAF Board Member Bill Moreau receives certificate of recognition 
Congratulations to HVAF Board Member Bill Moreau, who was recognized by the City of Indianapolis at a private reception hosted on June 17. Moreau was honored for his outstanding and continuous efforts to end homelessness, which includes 20 consecutive years of service to HVAF.

HVAF Employee spotlight

This month we spotlight Tom Tuttle. He’s a Case Manager for HVAF’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. He goes above and beyond to support veterans who are near homeless. On his own initiative, he has been canvassing the streets and shelters for homeless veterans who fit into a specific category in SSVF. And not only has he been able to spend the grant funding efficiently he has moved veterans out of homelessness.

Tom Tuttle at HVAF 
Tom has a BSW from the University of St. Francis in Indianapolis and an MA in Human Rights from Kingston University London. His grandfather is a Korean War veteran and has 7 cousins (all seven served active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan).

Here’s more about Tom.

What attracted you to the position at HVAF?
Working with veterans and the issues they face is what attracted me to this position. I have a lot of veterans in my family and have seen some of the many problems veterans face.

What do you enjoy most?
The part of working at HVAF I enjoy most is working with the clients and trying to help resolve the many differing situations the clients come from. Before working at HVAF I worked at IU in research to improve nursing home care.

How has SSVF grown since you started?
SSVF has grown in a variety of ways since starting at HVAF. We are serving more clients than in previous grant years. We have changed the ways we approach finding clients and assistance that we provide. We have created more tools to track and record program status.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include playing guitar and working/ riding old beach cruiser bicycles.

Save the Date for the annual Motorcycle Ride

Support HVAF and its homeless veterans by participating in the Freedom Ride on Saturday, August 23. The police-escorted ride begins at the American Legion Post 64. Riders will travel south to Kentucky Avenue and head north near the Indianapolis International Airport and continue north. Riders will pass the Indy 500 track and move through Eagle Creek Park before heading back to Post 64. Once the riders return to the post a catered lunch will be enjoyed with vendors and entertainment.

Employee spotlight

Rex Miller is one of our Transportation Specialists, and he’s been doing his job to the fullest for almost 2 years. Rex began at HVAF while we were in the midst of growth. He enjoys the freedom of the road and is helping make a difference for the veterans we serve.

Where are you from?
I grew up on the southeast side of Indianapolis near the Marion County Fairgrounds. My entire family of 7 siblings and I would go to the fairgrounds often. My grandparents grew up on what was a stereotypical Midwest farm and raised cattle and grew wheat and corn.”

Rex Miller, Transportation Specialist at HVAF
How did you get started at HVAF?
When I left my job as a truck driver for 30 years I was looking for work. I applied to over 5 places in the Indianapolis area, including HVAF. HVAF always stood out, because I respected what they did in helping veterans. I think HVAF is doing something good in the world.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?
My job doesn’t just have me on the road. I go into food pantries, grocery stores and big-box chain stores. I like the variety and not knowing what the next day holds. Plus, I get to meet veterans from all walks of life who simply need a helping hand. 

Dow AgroSciences on giving back to veterans

On May 10, volunteers with Dow AgroSciences’ Veterans Action Group created an herb garden at HVAF’s Manchester property. The group, made up of current and former service members, also trimmed hedges at HVAF’s headquarters and placed large planters outside the front door filled with colorful flowers.

Dow AgroSciences is an agricultural company that supports community initiatives as well as sustainable agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education.

Dow AgroSciences with veterans at HVAF
“We felt that a beautification project along with a vegetable garden fit well into these areas,” says Bradley Hemmick, operations on-boarding specialist at Dow AgroSciences. “The vegetable garden along with a class on horticulture will give some of the clients at HVAF new skills and hopefully a new passion for gardening, which we hope that they can enjoy and put to good use.”

The group’s volunteer work allowed maintenance staff at HVAF to use their resources in other areas.

“We are fortunate for their efforts,” says HVAF’s Director of Maintenance Randen Miller. “Their work left a lasting impression while giving new life to our building and adding a spring touch to our properties.” 

A vision for something better

Baptist Academy sent 15 seventh grade students to HVAF on May 12 to sort and stock donations for distribution to veterans in need. Students say they did not know much about HVAF before volunteering but the project gave them a greater awareness of homelessness among the veteran population in Indianapolis.

(Zeke Brown and Zach Ownsy (Left to right)
“I feel like they have given a lot to us and this is the least we can do,” says Zach, whose grandfather served in the U.S. Army.

Harold Thomas, an academy teacher and the field-trip sponsor, says that HVAF is one of several nonprofits the group of students would visit during its day of service.

“It is nice seeing the kids work together as they develop a heart of compassion for helping others,” says Harold.

Veterans join neighbors for community day

HVAF’s recovery program veterans participated in the 34th annual St. Joseph Historical Neighborhood Cleanup on May 3. The group of 10 veterans bagged leaves and picked up debris with their neighbors.

“The veterans provide so much more than a helping hand,” says President of the St. Joseph Neighborhood Association Garry Chilluffo. “We enjoy hearing their life experiences, getting them to open up a bit, and sharing in their visions and goals in life.”

St. Joseph Neighborhood Association Cleanup
Because of the extra help from our veterans, 120 bags with debris were collected along Alabama Street between 10th and 11th Streets.

“Despite having faced challenges of homelessness, it is heartening to see that they carry a sense of humor through it all,” adds Garry. “I think that speaks volumes to the work of HVAF and the impact on their recovery process."

HVAF in the news

In the news: HVAF receives national news coverage

Military Times recently featured HVAF Case Managers Rachel Brown and Gretchen Hiller and their work with homeless veterans in Shelbyville. Click over to the article to read about how HVAF is helping veterans do more with less.