Many veterans return from serving in the military to face enormous financial burdens. Gary T., 52, is no different. In the mid-80’s he joined the U.S. Navy and worked as a Radar Operator managing tactical and navigational charts. After serving, he moved back home to Indianapolis to be nearer to his four children.
“The transition home was kind of rough for me because l had a hard time finding work and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do,” says Gary who experienced intermittent homelessness for two years. “I eventually used the skills from my degree in college but even those jobs in architectural drafting were few and far between.”
In 2014, Gary ran out of money and began sleeping in his car. He was referred to HVAF by the VA. In June 2015, he met with Fred Young, HVAF’s Residential, Employment and Substance Abuse (REST) Coordinator, to begin his journey of sobriety. HVAF not only provided him with a warm bed, food, clothing and hygiene items, but more than he could imagine.
Gary was housed first. Then, his next hurdle was to get his finances in order. Years of child support had put a financial burden on his life and prevented him from gaining the sense of security and stability he needed to move forward.
Carlton Martin, Staff Attorney with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, an HVAF partner agency, is in the beginning stages of working with Gary to sort through his financial responsibilities which is something Gary says he couldn’t do alone.
“I was able to organize all of my old debts and file ten years of back taxes to avoid legal trouble,” adds Gary. “When I was homeless I had rejected my financial responsibilities while I was out on the streets.”
He is now empowered with the legal guidance he has received and is thankful to be working full-time at the VA Hospital.
“I finally feel that I am accountable for things and I have more control over my life.”