Our Story | HVAF
 

OUR STORY

We’re on a mission to solve the homeless veteran crisis. We’re succeeding but we need your help

 

We are empowering homeless veterans.

We’re on a mission to solve the homeless veteran crisis. We’re succeeding but we need your help.

 

Helping Veterans and Families

HVAF - Helping Veterans And Families - helps homeless veterans return to self-sufficiency and engages at-risk veterans and their families to prevent them from becoming homeless by providing supportive housing, case management, food, hygiene, and clothing; as well as other essential services. HVAF is the largest non-profit provider of comprehensive services for veterans in Indiana.

HVAF OVER THE YEARS:

1993: HVAF was first incorporated as a Far From Home Chapter

Far From Home President Stephen Peck (far left), Linda Boone, (center), and Louise Loyd (far right)

Twenty five years ago, then 68-year-old Louise Loyd was retiring as President of the Indiana American Legion Auxiliary. She received a call from the Auxiliary National President, Linda Boone, about wanting to start a chapter of the Far From Home Foundation - an organization that helped homeless veterans - in Indiana.

"Linda said, 'there are so many homeless veterans in Indianapolis - will you help me?'" Louise said. "I said I'll help if I can... and it just went from there."

The name would later change to Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation in 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

1995: HVAF opens its first home and serves its first veteran

Louise Loyd with the first veterans to live in one of HVAF's houses during the opening ceremony in 1995.

For the next two years, Louise and others worked to find a home to open for veterans. She said it was difficult because many neighborhood associations were not open to the idea of housing homeless veterans.

Finally, in 1995, they opened the Arlington house, which would later be changed to Lyter.

"We bought our first house in the City of Indianapolis for $1! And look what we have now, it's amazing," Louise said. "We moved five men into (Lyter) ... it gives me goosebumps. It was a wonderful day."

This also marked the first time they were able to serve Indianapolis' veterans.

 

 

 

 

1997: Don Moreau, Sr. is hired as HVAF's first CEO

As a three-time war veteran, with 28 years in the service and the title of full Colonel, the late Don Moreau, Sr. was the perfect choice for HVAF's first CEO. He ran the organization with his wife, Linda, by his side. One of his biggest initiatives included opening Carson Apartments.

 

 

1998: Case management is made available to veterans

More grants from the government were being made available to HVAF, allowing the organization to hire case managers for the veterans. Since then, HVAF's case managers have helped veterans find housing, employment and self-sufficiency. The Loyd House, named after Louise Loyd, opened to all female veterans in 1998 as well. Three other houses would open the following year.

Also in 1998, the organization adopted the name Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc. (HVAF).

 

 

 

2000: HVAF developed its Veteran Services Center, and opens Carson Apartments

The Veterans Services Center extends supportive services to homeless veterans and their families. The center provides food, clothing, furniture, household items and personal hygiene supplies.

According to Rick Schwartz, board member and one of HVAF's founders, no one wanted homeless veterans living in their "backyard." But the late Julia Carson did just that.

In 1999, HVAF received the grant to open apartments the congresswoman owned, right behind her home. The apartments officially opened the following year.

And the following year, retired Command Sergeant Major, Dr. Charles (Chuck) Haenlein was hired as the second CEO for HVAF. He would go on to lead the organization for 14 years.

 

 

2002: The project to open Warman Houses begins

The process for opening up the Warman Houses was very significant as it was the largest property of houses for HVAF at the time, with 45 units.

Warman was leased from the city of Indianapolis for $1 per year, and former Mayor Greg Ballard signed a quitclaim deed and gave HVAF the properties.

"We got about five houses outside the wire at the former Central State Hospital. We refurbished all of those houses," HVAF founding member and board member emeritus Rick Schwartz said. "The governor came and handed us a key and dedicated the houses to us. That was really out biggest project to date."

 

 

 

2005: Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation became HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

 

 

2008: The Moreau Apartments open for veterans

Pictured, from right to left: Former HVAF CEO Charles Haenlein, Phil Thomas, former Board Chairman Steve Benz, Don Moreau, Sr., and case manager Rick Feuille.

After Don Moreau, Sr. stepped down as HVAF CEO, he remained a huge supporter of the organization. Because of his efforts, HVAF now has an apartment complex named in honor of him. The apartments, which include 38 units, are open for male and female veterans.

At the dedication ceremony in October 2008, the late former CEO addressed the HVAF staff and supporters in attendance, as well as participated in the ribbon cutting.

Guest speakers former Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Phil Thomas at Veterans Affairs, former HVAF Board Chairman Steve Benz, HVAF founding member and HVAF board member emeritus Rick Swartz, former case manager Rick Feuille, and Don himself all offered their words of congratulations and thanks to all who had a part in making the opening a possibility.

In 2020, the apartments were renovated and are now Permanent Supportive Housing units for our veterans. The complex is now known as Veterans Villa.

 

 

2011: Manchester Apartments open for veterans

After many zoning meetings and lots of planning, the Manchester Apartments opened in 2011, thanks to the support of the St. Joseph Neighborhood Association. This property, connected to the HVAF Headquarters, has 51 units for male and female veterans to live in.

 

 

2016: Brian Copes is hired as HVAF's third CEO

Following Charles Haenlein's retirement, retired Brigadier General Brian Copes was hired on as the third HVAF CEO in April 2016. Because of his 38 years of military service, the staff and board knew he would be the right fit for the position. Since his hiring, he has led many initiatives to expand HVAF's programs and services, and has no plans on stopping for years to come.

 

 

2018: HVAF of Indiana, Inc. is now 'Helping Veterans and Families'

Although a new name, the mission remains the same: serving homeless and at-risk veterans, as well as their families, in our community.

 

 

2019: HVAF begins providing Permanent Supportive Housing

After hearing Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett‘s call for more Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless veterans, HVAF took action. In 2019, HVAF’s maintenance team repurposed eight of HVAF’s housing properties.

And we are thankful for The Indianapolis Housing Agency awarding us with vouchers in order to make the properties permanent homes for veterans and their families.

In November 2019 the first veteran moved into one of HVAF’s permanent housing units : Valerie Morris – along with her daughter, Adreanna, and two grandkids: Jeremiah and Jóel.

 

 

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Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day

– Charles B. Rangel