As you may have heard, HVAF is celebrating 30 years of serving veterans facing homelessness in Central Indiana. This year of reflection has us all looking back on where we’ve been, and planning for an impactful future as we continue in service to Hoosier Heroes.
HVAF was officially founded as a chapter of a national organization, Far From Home, in 1993. With the passion of our founders, including Louise Loyd and the American Legion Auxiliary, Russell Cox, and Rick Schwartz, HVAF offered temporary housing for 5 veterans in a renovated facility in Irvington. HVAF’s first full-time CEO, the late Col. Don Moreau, helped grow the agency adding several additional temporary housing facilities to HVAF’s inventory. This year, we reflect with deep gratitude on these individuals, who with their own blood, sweat, and tears formed an organization with staying power and a lasting impact on the most vulnerable veterans in our community.
Through a couple of name changes and tremendous growth, HVAF – Helping Veterans And Families, is now the largest non-profit in the State of Indiana dedicated to serving veterans facing homelessness. We offer an incredible variety of services to veterans in our community, including housing, employment and legal services, and basic needs assistance through our pantries and street outreach. Our talented staff provides life-changing, life-saving services to hundreds of veterans each year! Last year, over 33,000 services were provided to 1,265 veterans enrolled in HVAF services.
We are proud of our legacy, but we are also hungry to find ways to better serve Hoosier veterans—men and women who sacrificed so much on our behalf. Together, our senior staff and our program directors reviewed and revised HVAF’s Strategic Plan to provide a roadmap for the next three years to guide our future.
As we step into our next 30 years, we are focused on expanding HVAF services to veterans in need, both in terms of geographic expansion and also enhanced mental health and substance use programming to veterans in our current catchment area. We know veterans, particularly those in more rural areas of the state, need access to employment and housing assistance and we are eager to explore filling these service gaps. We also know that mental health and substance use struggles were greatly exacerbated by the pandemic, and we want to be much more intentionally focused on providing assistance for veterans who are impacted.
In a nod to our founders, we are also focused on improving the business functions of our non-profit. With a focus on sustainability, another of our strategic goals over the next three years is to continue to improve the financial sustainability of the organization, increasing cash reserves and building maintenance funds to support capital expenses for decades to come. We are also improving human resources practices, investing in staff training and diversity initiatives to ensure that HVAF remains a desired employer focused on serving veterans and our employees.
And, lastly, (and this is where you come in!) we set new strategic fundraising goals. HVAF’s Advancement Department set an ambitious fundraising goal this year—ONE MILLION DOLLARS—that we will need your help to reach! We are committed to meeting the needs of the veterans we serve and we are counting on your generosity to do it!
Please follow our newsletter to engage in special anniversary celebrations all year to ensure that our mission continues! You can also purchase 30th anniversary swag and start celebrating immediately at our online store!
Here’s to the next 30!