Thursday, June 13, 2013

Helping Homeless and low income Vets find affordable housing?

Its a joke, and a bad one at that.  This post will be updated from time to time, over the next 3 weeks, as I use it to tell you about the search for proper housing by 3 veterans - 1 discharged from the home and living on the street, and 2 others at the home that are trying to find something better. All 3 have either Social security Disability or some kind of disability pension or income, coming in. All 3 are close to, but not quite, at the retirement age where they can move into a retirement community. Untill then, they need to find proper and affordable housing.

It is bad enough when you are told you are 100 percent disabled by social security, and that you will not be going back to work at all - then you find out they don't even give you 100 percent disability payment, but instead give you the standard 1200 a month.You could get 2400 a month.

All 3 guys will continue to get their health care done at the VA clinic, currently located next to the veterans home, and in 2015, will be moved to the new location near metro hospital in Wyoming.

So all 3 will want easy access to the clinic, no matter where it is. And unless they own a car, that means they will have to live within city limits to be able to use the bus system.

Due recent changes in the laws, the "Homeless veterans" staying at the GR Vets home, were no longer eligible to get section 8 housing vouchers because as one politician said, "they have a warm bed to sleep in."  This one act, closed the door on helping a lot of veterans get back on their feet and back into a society that keeps saying it wants to help veterans.

Well lets first take a look at Alvin. He is a single dad that gets to see his kids once a month. He left the home and within 2 weeks, had section 8 voucher and is now living in an apartment off of 4 mile and Alpine in GR, so I am told. Next time I see him, I will get more details and update this.

Next lets take a look at Bob. Bob is just starting his search as he is looking to leave the vets home soon. Today he is going down to the VA housing assistance office on Ionia street. He is going to contact me and tell me how it went and what he is expected to do. I will update this as well as information becomes available.

Now lets take a look at Greg's search and what he calls a nightmare. Greg left the home last year and has been bouncing around staying at friends houses, relatives houses, where ever he can get a place to sleep for a few days. He uses  his sisters address as a contact point, but maintains his own cell phone which is local calling to GR. His sister lives in another county. Not Kent county which is where Grand Rapids is located.

So Greg went to the Veterans outreach clinic on Century Ave, and talked to them. They sent him to the City housing place, which is run by the salvation army, at 1120 Monroe. This is just south of Leonard.  They hold in person interviews M,W, F, from 1 to 4pm. He did not get a satisfactory answer the first time he went on a Friday so he returned the next Monday. There he was informed about his address situation, and non verifiable residence status because of the address on his drivers license being in another county.

Then he returned on Wednesday having gotten permission from a friend who lives in the metro area, to use his mailing address. But again, was told that they were not sure they could help him because he told them that he would be staying at that address for 2 weeks while he helped them finish a basement.

They gave him a card, and had him call Linda, a specialist. He called the next day and got her answering machine. he called on Friday morning at 8:40am and Lynn picked up the phone. After talking to her for 5 min's she said she would leave some information up for him at the front desk and he could pick it up any time. It was 12 pages of rentals mostly homes. Nothing about getting into Rent controlled places, or a section 8 place.

He feels as of it was a total waste of his time. So hes waiting to hear from the other 2 guys as to how it went for them.  And his time is running out. He has to be out of his sis's house by months end so reconstruction can begin.

He never got to community re builders.. he will try that next. and the VA housing help.

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