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Army veteran Bobby has worked as a case manager for HVAF since April 2021. Bobby works in HVAF’s Transition In Place (TIP) program, where veterans move into their own apartment and HVAF holds the lease. The veteran assumes the lease after our case managers help them reach self-sufficiency.
We went live on Facebook with Bobby a few weeks ago to get to know him better:
Q: Why did you want to join the Army?
A: I was 19 years old, just looking for a challenge and something different in life. I was working construction and factory jobs before that, and just needed a new challenge. So I decided to go talk to an Army recruiter.
Q: When did you serve?
A: I joined in March 2000. I served 21 years, 8 months, and 2 days.
Q: What was your experience serving in the Army like?
A: Just like any job you go to, it has its ups and downs. But the overall experience was great. I met people who are considered family now. If I need anything to this day, I could call them and they would be there for me. It was a great experience that allowed me to stay 21 years.
Q: What did you do?
A: I was a 12 Bravo Combat Engineer. I went through mine fields, blew stuff up. Easiest way for me to explain it is if you’ve seen the first Transformers – Bonecrusher on there, he’s the buffalo. We used that to go around and look for IEDs in the Iraq War.
Q: You went straight from serving in the military to working at HVAF. Why did you want to work at HVAF?
A: In the military, I got to train and mentor soldiers and as I was transitioning out I thought a lot about what I wanted to do and I came across Helping Veterans And Families and I got to thinking what better career field to get into than helping those that paved the way for my military career. A lot of times while you’re in the military you’re focused on the soldiers who are right there in front of you. You don’t really think about the soldiers from past generations. I thought this would a great opportunity to give back to those soldiers that paved the way for my career to go the way it did.
Q: What is your role at HVAF?
A: I am a case manager with the Permanent Supportive Housing/Transition In Place team. What I do on a daily basis is I interact with my veterans – most of the day I try to find houses for them. Reaching out to property managers, landlords, anybody that I can reach out to that would be able to help us either find houses or apartments to rent or rent those houses or apartments.
Q: How does your military experience translate to your current role?
A: It transitions over easily because when I introduce myself I share my background and where I’m coming from. Oftentimes we have some commonalities – we were stationed at the same place, or I come across some veterans who served overseas at the same time that I did. I feel I have a little bit of an edge because I can relate to them on a personal level with their military experience and what they went through and what led them to where they are now, coming to HVAF.
Q: In the year that you have served with HVAF, do you have a favorite “success story” to share?
A: I don’t have a favorite success story. I look at it as each veteran starts in a different place so as long as they’re moving forward and growing from that place, then they are a success. I’m just happy to be along for that ride and help them in any way I can to continue for them to be successful in the position that they want to end up in.
Q: What are some hardships you face with this job?
A: There are hardships. The number one hardship is finding the housing. The veterans can come with barriers that stop them from getting housing on their own. Whether they lost their job due to COVID or whatever the circumstance may be. When veterans come here, they’re kind of misinformed. They think that we already have houses lined up for them, they don’t have to do background checks or anything – that we just partner with people and they should be able to slide into a house immediately. It doesn’t work that way unfortunately. So that’s my greatest frustration.
Q: What is your favorite reason to work at HVAF?
A: Helping people help themselves and getting back on their feet. That’s what I really want to do and I’m able to do that here and I’m able to see the outcome of the work that the veteran put in. It’s not like they are attached to me for a month or two months and then I don’t ever see them again. We have a longer relationship with them. I’ve successfully discharged a couple so far and they even continue to reach out to me today just to give me updates on how they’re doing and to me that’s the best thing that I can ask for here at HVAF.
HVAF’s case managers can’t serve Indy’s veterans without your help. You can join our fight in ending veteran homelessness by donating today: