Catholic Charities Veteran Services helps veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness find stable housing and provides ongoing case management that includes financial planning, assistance applying for VA benefits, emergency assistance and more.

Friday, 19 January 2024

A Community Comes Together to Assist a Vietnam Veteran

Catholic Charities Veterans Services is a housing first program, meaning that it recognizes housing as a person’s first and most important need. The program helps veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness find stable housing and provides ongoing case management.

Because Yavapai County is home to the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System, there’s an influx of homeless veterans in the community. While Catholic Charities and other veteran-focused agencies collaborate on a regular basis, it’s truly special to see the community come together to support a homeless veteran.

A Veteran in Need of Support

Ed Roland is a 77-year-old Vietnam veteran who had been experiencing homelessness on and off for five years. He would frequently come and go from shelters to camping in the forest.

Catholic Charities Veterans Services enrolled Ed in the program in May 2022, when he relocated to Cottonwood, Ariz. after a short stay at U.S.VETS’ transitional housing. Although Ed felt most comfortable living under the stars, he knew he was getting older and needed permanent housing.

Ed had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past and struggled with his memory and attending doctor’s appointments. Homelessness and a lack of transportation further prevented him from being able to prioritize his health.

Advocacy Improves Outcomes

Unfortunately, Catholic Charities’ attempts to pursue housing for Ed proved unsuccessful. After hearing about Ed’s situation, a VA social worker decided to get involved as another advocate.

This additional support helped Ed ensure his doctor’s appointments were scheduled. Catholic Charities was able to personally transport Ed from Cottonwood to the VA for appointments.

With his health improving, Ed felt ready to try U.S.VETS’ transitional housing program again. He was able to be reenrolled in the program. Regular support helped Ed improve significantly, but his struggle to find permanent housing continued.

After a year of being enrolled in Catholic Charities Veterans Services, things were still moving slowly for Ed. It was then that a VA social worker heard of an opening for low-income housing with the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ) in Prescott.

Securing Stable Housing

Ed was accepted and moved into permanent housing in May 2023. Catholic Charities assisted with the move and paid the security deposit and two months of rent. He continues to receive case management and support. Biweekly food boxes and the Meal on Wheels program ensure that Ed has access to nutritious food.

Although Ed admits he misses the freedom of camping, he’s found that biking is a healthy way to relive that feeling. He continues to prioritize his health and his housing.

Outreach is the first step in getting veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Items like sleeping bags and tents are invaluable in keeping them protected from the elements and building trust. Donating needed items through our Amazon Charity List is a wonderful way to help veterans take that first step toward stability.

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