Success for our veterans requires community support and volunteers, such as this LSUHSC student.
Everyday your support of the Veterans Transitional Living Program produces great stories of progress and independence, but we know there is a greater need.
With a two new grants, we will be able to enhance and expand our programs for veterans like Jimmy.
Jimmy came to us after 20 years of periodic homelessness and struggles with alcohol. The Army vet spent nine months at the Vets Home rebuilding his life before he was ready for permanent housing.
An opportunity arose to buy a mobile home. The seller wanted $400, and the home looked it. Jimmy was sure he could fix it up, but he didn't quite have enough money saved. He approached Veterans Home Director Gary Jaynes and asked for help. Gary was skeptical, but couldn't turn down Jimmy's argument:
"Gary, if I can buy this trailer, that means I'll never be homeless again."
With your help and the help of these new programs, we are sure many more Jimmys will avoid homelessness.
The first opportunity was announced today by the Home Depot Foundation. As part of a national campaign, the Foundation awarded $50,000 to Volunteers of America North Louisiana to enhance the Veterans Home.
The Veterans Garden was build last summer with help from Shreveport Green.
We plan to install a new irrigation system for the veteran's garden, refurbish the landscaping and install new energy efficient roofs for the two apartment buildings. Staff also plans to explore ways to improve energy efficiency of the main facility such as a solar panel system.
"We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the Home Depot Foundation and to work on reducing costs of our program," Regional Vice President Brian Byrd said. "It is very important to us to continue to make improvements in our services and partnering with the private sector is a prime example."
Starting Oct. 17, we will be able to serve more veterans, including those with families, through a federal program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families. These funds will help veterans prevent homelessness or move to permanent housing.
If a vet loses their job or struggles with medical bills, we will be able to provide short-term guidance and assistance to make sure they and their families are in a stable home.
"This grant gives us the opportunity to serve those who served us and to give them the support they need on the front end," Byrd said.
In the 2010-11 fiscal year, we served 101 veterans, and 33 moved to independence. Of those, 100 percent are still living on their own.
Thanks to you, that success can continue.