An honorably-discharged Army vet came into our SSVF offices in Newburgh seeking assistance. A self-proclaimed “broken man”, Norman was on the verge of homelessness, hungry, unemployed due to illness, and had no idea where to turn for help.
As we listened to his stories of illness and subsequent loss of employment, his pending eviction, and an absurdly low food stamp allowance, we knew we could help this veteran who loyally served our country. Norman explained to me that he had been staying at his aunt’s house but he was being evicted. An illness forced him to resign from full-time employment and the substantially low fixed income and $10 in food stamps could not sustain him.
All of Norman’s belongings were in a storage unit in New Windsor but because he was unable to pay the monthly invoices, they were threatening to auction off his possessions. Everything he owned was in that unit and he didn’t have the funds to stop the process. His disability claim was in limbo. We reassured Norman that SSVF would help and that everything was going to be okay.
The first thing we did was contact our partner, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, to look into his disability claim. We also took care of the storage unit balance so he would not lose his possessions. Norman was able to find safe affordable housing. We then worked closely with the property manager, securing Norman a special move-in rate and a $100 month discount for the first year. SSVF also provided the security and the first month’s rent. The property manager set up the move and brought over his belongings free of charge.
Norman was able to get an increase in his monthly food stamps and now receives $189.00 per month as well as getting food directly from the VA. With our help, he was also able to get his rent subsidized through the Department of Social Services so that his portion would only be $188 per month.
Several times during this process, Norman broke down in tears but soon left our offices feeling as though a weight had been lifted off of him and his spirit renewed. Norman thanked me and the SSVF program for saving him and getting him back on his feet. He felt supported and empowered by the SSVF program and this time Norman broke down with tears of happiness.