Scott's Story - HVAF veteran impact

A grassy spot along Shadeland Avenue and 38th Street was once home to Scott S. until a concerned passerby decided to give the veteran a needed hand up. Before the help, he bounced around, staying at hotels and on the streets after his service in the U.S. Navy ended in 1978. Scott, a welder by trade, was also a trained firefighter in the Navy.

Scott in permanent housing
“I came from a large family and I wanted to form my own identify and so I joined the Navy in hopes of traveling the world and experiencing a different way of life,” adds Scott.

After his discharge he married and had kids, but put college on hold and found work. He worked several odd jobs. As a civilian, Scott found jobs that seemed to end too soon. The factory where he worked for 10 years had been a consistent in his life, but when Scott suffered an off-the-job injury it ended up in job loss. He couldn’t afford rent. Scott did not know where to turn or how to get the help that he needed. A friend suggested he call HVAF of Indiana and in October 2014 he did just that.

“I was down and out at the time and didn’t have a place to stay or a job and since I was a veteran, I applied for HVAF housing and thankfully they had an opening at the Carson property,” adds Scott.

HVAF houses more than 200 homeless veterans each night.

“Consistency is one of the most important elements in searching for employment and Scott never gave up! He continued to actively submit applications, attend job fairs, and meet with his Employment Specialist on a regular basis,” says Chasiti Herring, MSW coordinator, veteran employment services.

At HVAF, Scott received additional help with getting back on his feet. He received help with employment services. Employment specialists helped create a resume detailing his skills which showed his prior commitment and dedication to the roles he served. In January, he was hired on as a property manager where he is now in charge of responding to maintenance calls as well as manning cameras at the property. Scott credits HVAF for helping him achieve employment.

Cheer for HVAF

Frank Islas is a member of the UAW Local 933 veterans’ community. In the past this group has held various food and hygiene drives for HVAF. In February, the UAW Greater Marion County Cap Council approached Frank along with UAW Racing to propose holding a fundraiser for a veterans’ organization. Frank suggested HVAF. For every lap raced by Ashlea Albertson or Ashdog Racing with USSA Racing, Mel Keynon Midget Series will benefit HVAF. Ashlea is scheduled to run 720 laps this year. The group chose a monetary value of $5.00 per lap with a goal of raising $3,500 for HVAF.

Robert's Success Story at HVAF

From the front door to the mailbox, it’s easy to take keys for granted. Until you don’t have them.

“Homeless people don’t need keys very much. There’s not too much that you have to unlock.”

And that was the case for Robert M., when the 54-year-old U.S. Navy veteran found himself out of work, homeless and suffering from alcoholism. He was a planner. At age 54 he had not needed to ask anyone for help. But you can only plan for so much.

In June 2014, Robert checked into an inpatient center in Marion, Indiana where he stayed for 90 days. Then, he enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Substance Abuse Recovery and Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARRTP) at Marion Hospital. Next, Robert applied for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program but did not qualify.

In 2014, he was placed in housing at HVAF. He worked with Case Manager Lindsey Bennett who helped get him on track. While at HVAF housing, Case Manager Kayla Jackson, MSW, LSW, enrolled him into its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. SSVF helps eligible veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits including assisting clients with budgeting and creating a stability plan. Qualified veterans may also be eligible for limited payments to third parties, such as landlords, utility companies, and moving companies, if these payments help veteran families stay in or acquire permanent housing.

The SSVF program helped him secure the rental and with all of the initial move in costs.  

“When you become near homeless you lose a lot of material things, says Robert. “You lose your self-confidence and pride and along with those things goes your drive to better yourself. HVAF provided me with a structured living program and thanks to the SSVF program, I have received a brand new bed, pots and pans. I didn’t have a lot and now I have rebuilt my life,” adds Robert.

Arriving at HVAF, Robert says, was a blessing in disguise because he was able to get the resources to start over. Now marking one year in his own apartment and a steady job, Robert is setting an example to inspire others and reminding us that there’s a lot to be thankful for.

“Just think about how fortunate you are to have the things you need and family, friends and the ability to be together.”

Robert has been in successful recovery for over 2 years. He credits his success to a team effort coming from many organizations. He is also a Certified Recovery Addiction Specialist.

Volunteer provides essential items for the homeless

HVAF of Indiana is fortunate to receive donations which make a real difference for homeless veterans.  Eva Yackey is a member of the American Legion Post 145 Auxiliary and first approached HVAF of Indiana in January 2016. Her friend from the Legion asked her if HVAF would like to receive some towels and sheets. Her friend then reached out to Hendricks Regional Health and Eva connected with HVAF to see if we could use the items.

The hospital provided sheets, blankets, medical scrubs and towels. Eva’s efforts did not stop there. She became aware of the need to fill our food pantry. She is currently holding a food drive for HVAF.

Eva was born in Communist Hungary and came here as a teenager. She appreciates the opportunities in the United States in a way that only someone born in a dictatorship can. This is part of her continued efforts to give back to the county.

When asked why she volunteers, Eva responded: “You simply do not understand the value of this country if you do not pay it forward!”