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Supportive Services for Veterans

Community Action of Northeast Indiana (CANI) Helps a Veteran in Need

Veteran sitting in his chair in his new homeWe all have our struggles in life and Robert has had more than his fair share. However, Robert did not realize how much his life was going to change in a few short months after he answered an ad in his local newspaper about a Veteran housing program provided by Community Action of Northeast Indiana (CANI), a Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grantee. The SSVF program helps homeless Veterans locate and secure stable housing for themselves and their families. Through case management services, the Veteran may receive assistance in obtaining a rental or employment, and assistance in getting VA and educational benefits.

Robert proudly served in the military and received training to become a qualified sharpshooter and marksman. However, he became ill and was honorably discharged from the military. While living in Nebraska, Robert lost his wife of 20 years and had to move back to Indiana in order to help care for his ailing father. Two years later his father passed away and Robert had nowhere to live. He stayed in an old 13 X 16 garage on the property until he could get a job and have enough money to live on his own. Robert wired the garage with electricity and used a space heater to stay warm.

Robert worked in construction for 20 years; however, he is no longer able to do so because of a spinal condition. Interviewing for new positions proved to be difficult because he has few teeth remaining as a result of having to forego dental care for several years. In spite of all this, Robert was determined to find work – no matter how temporay or short-term. And he did just that. Robert said that he would often have only enough money to put one gallon of gasoline in his car at a time, but at least it would get him to another job.

Two years ago Robert found out that he had prostate cancer. He had to travel over 60 miles one way, five days a week for nine weeks to receive treatments. Robert struggled finding the money for the gasoline needed to get to his appointments so he sought assistance from the Lutheran Hospital Cancer Care Center. The Cancer Center provided him with gasoline cards for the first three weeks of his care, until he was able to obtain VA assistance to cover the cost. Robert was so thankful for the assistance that he promised to make a donation to the Cancer Center if he recovered.

Robert had already taken so many crucial steps to help himself and he was about to take one more. Robert learned about CANI through a newspaper ad and reached out to the agency. As a result, he met with CANI’s SSVF Homeless Prevention Coordinator and completed the necessary papework. He was then assigned a case worker, who helped guide Robert in setting goals. The case worker also spoke with a landlord about how the program would work, and completed an inspection of the rental he had chosen. After moving into his new home, Robert stated the following, “I am thankful for the assistance and the place is perfect! It’s not far from work and only a few blocks from where my mother lives, so I am able to help her when she needs it.”

A few weeks after moving into his home, Robert received a letter that he had been approved for Social Security benefits. He also found out that his prostate cancer was in complete remission. After hearing this news, Robert donated double the amount of gasoline cards he had received in the past from the Cancer Center for them to be able to help others in need. He was also able to give his mother a christmas present which he had not been able to do in years.

Having survived life’s struggles, Robert is appreciative of the SSVF program and the assistance it provides to homeless Veterans. He has also expressed his gratitude for the assistance provided to him by other agencies. Robert has been wiling to help others in need and is determined to be successful. “I’m going to get it right this time,” he said. “If I was any happier there would be two of me. The only thing missing from my life now is a girlfriend!”

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