HVAF takes action on Indy Do Day

On Oct. 2, HVAF staffers fanned out into the historical St. Joseph neighborhood for a street cleanup as part of Indy Do Day. HVAF also hosted a United Way Day of Caring project on the same day. This was the first time HVAF served as both volunteers and as a host site.

Host site
Thirty Eli Lilly and Company employees painted apartments for veterans who call Manchester Apartments home. Volunteers also provided bookshelves that were later installed as well as books.

HVAF volunteering
In the St. Joseph neighborhood, HVAF employees picked up debris and cleaned up the neighborhood. HVAF employees look forward to participating in next year’s Indy Do Day activities.

HVAF staff on Indy Do Day

HVAF helps veteran through legal barriers

Woodrow never imagined he would one day be homeless but, Woodrow, 52, an Army veteran was struggling to afford housing because he says he was "saddled with child care payments".

While serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Woodrow suffered an eye-injury which resulted in his medical discharge. He worked on and off over the next two decades, but in 2014 things changed. He lost his job and he became homeless for the first time.

In March 2014, he was referred to HVAF’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program which helps homeless and near homeless veterans stay in their homes by providing rental and utility assistance for those who quality.

HVAF case managers introduced him to the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (NCLC) an HVAF partner for his ongoing child support issues.

“NCLC seeks to meet the legal needs of veterans as they seek to reestablish stable housing and employment,” says Staff Attorney Brian N. Dunkel. “The focus is on civil legal issues that present obstacles to achieving that type of stability. Homeless veterans frequently have questions and confront problems with child support, driver’s license, debt collection and landlord-tenant issues.”

With the help from these services, Woodrow remains in his apartment and secured full-time employment. He now has his financial freedom.

Woodrow W. at HVAF

Warm coats: A Welcome Gift for Homeless Veterans

Last year, Indianapolis witnessed record cold temperatures. Many homeless veterans were shivering outside, not wearing warm clothing. EnviroForensics, full-service environmental engineering firm, had to do something.

Employees organized the 3rd annual "Coat Drive for HVAF” and was supported by Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. Donors dropped off new or gently-used winter coats to 16 locations across Central Indiana.

"As a Taft partner, HVAF board member, and Afghanistan veteran, I'm proud that Taft continues to answer the call to serve our homeless veterans.  Our partnership with EnviroForensics helps keep those who have given so much to our nation warm this winter.  Special thanks go to Kelly Sharpe, who led Taft's efforts."

“We are very grateful for EnviroForensics to spearhead this much-needed coat drive,” said Debra Des Vignes, VP of marketing. “We’re very proud that they are our partners in this effort and thanks to the compassion and generosity of their staff, family, and local community, we are able to collect around 100 coats.

“We find it important as an organization to help those who are less fortunate in our community,” says EnviroForensics Sales Manager and Marketing Coordinator Dru Shields, Additionally, we are deeply grateful for the men and women who have served in our country’s Armed Forces. We want to aid in getting struggling vets back on their feet and this coat drive is a way of showing our appreciation for their service.”

Coat Drive for HVAF

Haircuts for the homeless

When Bill Bledsoe isn’t running his own business named “A Mobile Barber”, he can be found roaming the city streets, offering sophisticated trims to those who need it most.

“There is so much negativity in this world today,” Bledsoe says, “and I just simply wanted to bring some positive energy and hope into this world.”

Bill said he’s been offering free haircuts to HVAF veterans since May 2008 when the shop was set up. He was first introduced to HVAF by Past Board Chairman Steve Benz. Bill helped get items donated for the shop and also donated his own items, but in 2012 health related issues prevented him from volunteering at HVAF once a week.

“My most vivid memory of one particular veteran’s reaction was a simple smile,” Bledsoe said. “He was a recovery addict and so shy and rarely made eye contact with anybody. He looked extremely rough and callused. During his haircut, he looked upset the entire time and didn't look up once, until the cut was complete.

The veterans HVAF serves all have different circumstances and Bill says he stays connected with the ones he meets.

“I have stayed in contact with a lot of the veterans at HVAF through Facebook and I even got invited to a wedding!” says Bill. “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”

A simple act of kindness goes a long way to helping a homeless veteran.

Indiana House of Representatives volunteer for HVAF

“Awesome!” said Dolly Starnes’ grandson, First Lt. in the U.S. Army at Ft. Drum, when he learned that she was volunteering for HVAF. Dolly joined 12 volunteers from the Indiana House of Representatives on October 28. The group spent the afternoon raking leaves at HVAF’s Warman property.
“It breaks my heart that we have homeless veterans and it’s appalling in America that people are homeless,” says Dolly who works as the Executive Assistant to the Democratic Caucus Chair.
Navy veteran and HVAF Board Member Matt Crane joined his wife Lesley, Chief of Staff for the Indiana House Republican Caucus and says it was a small service he could do for service members who gave so much.
The work by this group allowed HVAF’s maintenance team to focus on others areas of need.  This is the second time the Indiana House of Representatives has volunteered for HVAF.
Do you want to volunteer for HVAF? Opportunities include raking leaves, painting and other important activities that help maintain veterans’ properties. Learn more on
Indiana House of Representatives volunteering for HVAF


EnviroForensics 3rd annual Coat Drive for HVAF

EnviroForensics is holding its 3rd annual "Coat Drive for HVAF” in partnership with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. The Drive runs through November 3. Donors can drop off men's and women's coats at any of the 16 locations.

EnviroForensics is a full-service environmental engineering firm that specializes in locating funding to cover the costs associated with environmental cleanups.

Coat Drive Locations:

40 Minute Cleaners – 2201 E 62nd Street, Suite D
Bloodhound – 750 Ricks Pl, Brownsburg, IN 46112
Deering Cleaners – 602 N Capitol
Deering Cleaners – 14753 Hazel Dell Crossing # 800, Noblesville
Earth Exploration – 7770 W New York Street
EnviroForensics – 602 N Capitol Ave, Suite 210
ENVision Laboratories – 1439 Sadlier Circle West Drive
Ice Miller, LLP – One American Square, Suite 2900
Indiana Geologists – At the October Meeting at the Milano Inn
Meridian Heights – 4915 N Pennsylvania Street
Northern Lights – 8109 Network Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168
Pappas Cleaners – 5050 E 38th Street
Pine Environmental Services – 7144 Zionsville Road
Sigma Gamma Epsilon – Earth Sciences Honor Society at IPFW – Several locations throughout Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Columbia City
Taft Stettinius & Hollister – One Indiana Square, Suite 3500
Vapor Protection Services – 6544 Ferguson Street, Suite A