The clear skies in Chico, CA on the morning of November 8th, 2018 gave no indication of what was to come. But within two hours, the VRC staff had mobilized and were soon set up to assist displaced veterans in the local Disaster Relief Center that was established to aid victims of the Camp Fire. With screening forms, SF 180s, gas and food cards, and donated clothing and supplies ready to go, they staffed the DRC every day over the next two months, including holidays. In total, VRC’s Chico team screened and assisted more than 1,250 veterans at the DRC, the Fair Grounds, or through walk-in appointments at the VRC office.
A Vietnam era veteran came to VRC’s Reno office seeking assistance because his income would no longer secure viable living quarters or afford even a marginal standard of living. The veteran was resigned to living in a tent and camping in an empty lot near his brother’s residence in the Reno area. Due largely to the veteran’s sense of personal pride, he chose to live in a tent rather than impose upon his family. VRC provided referrals to community resources to help him reduce his monthly living expenses and seek housing assistance. The veteran closely adhered to the goals and tasks of his housing stability plans and was able to secure a stable housing arrangement that met his needs.
Menlo Park VRC
A veteran who had been homeless for over 10 years and had struggled with addiction and anger management issues sought help from VRC’s Menlo Park office. Two VRC case managers assisted him in getting a PTSD diagnosis, for which he began receiving treatment while staying in VA transitional housing. He has worked hard to get back on track, and he now lives in the North Bay after reuniting with his family and children.
Through the generous support of Scott Stites, a valued VRC community partner and the founder and owner of Sparks Metalcrafters in Sparks, Nevada, VRC was able to assist two families—a female Army veteran with a husband and kids, and a male Marine Corps veteran with a wife and kids—who lost their homes in the Camp Fire, each with a $1,200 shopping spree two days before Christmas.
A veteran who is a single father of one was seeking rental and employment assistance. With VRC’s help, he was able to obtain stable housing and full-time employment through Nevada JobConnect, while maintaining enrollment in school, and he continues to work with VRC’s VSO program to assist with VA benefits. The veteran remains in touch with his case manager, and he and his child are doing well.
An honorably discharged Army veteran who was struggling with PTSD and anxiety issues, which kept him from finding supplemental income, was subsiding off General Cash Assistance of only $340.00 a month. He sought help from VRC after losing his long-term rental unit due to new ownership not accepting his housing voucher. Through his own hard work and assistance from VRC’s Monterey office, he was only displaced for 15 days before being able to move into another unit, and he used this time to visit his children on the east coast. VRC assisted him with a rental application fee, two months’ rent on a storage facility where he was able to store his belongings, and the first month’s rent and security deposit for his new unit. VRC was also able to secure coverage of the veteran’s housing plight in a local newspaper, and the veteran believes the added exposure made it easier for him to find an affordable rental unit.
Santa Rosa VRC
A 77-year old honorably discharged Air Force veteran who suffers from Alzheimer’s had relied on his wife to manage the household, but she became ill and was hospitalized. The veteran received assistance through various county resources, but due to high medical bills and his wife’s hospitalization, they faced eviction from the home they had lived in for seven years. VRC’s staff in Santa Rosa provided them with rental assistance for several months, keeping them housed until their rent was raised for the fourth time in two years and they could no longer afford to live there. VRC worked closely with this family, providing case management and involving other community resources, and assisted them in finding an affordable apartment. The veteran is now living in a subsidized senior living facility that offers supportive services to the residents. He no longer has outstanding medical bills due to the combined assistance received through referrals made by VRC and is now financially stable and secure in a new home.
Menlo Park VRC
A 36-year-old Navy veteran who was trying to overcome a number of personal battles and achieve stability and independence came to VRC’s Menlo Park office and participated in the Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program. VRC helped him get the support he needed through HUD and SSVF grants, and he received Temporary Financial Assistance for his computer certification courses and equipment. The veteran is currently employed with the VA, where he works in computer technology and continues to be stably housed in Santa Clara County.
Bullhead City VRC
An honorably discharged Marine Corps veteran came to VRC’s Bullhead City office in a housing crisis. In tears when he arrived at VRC, he had recently relocated to the area with his wife, who was six months pregnant, and their daughter in search of a lower cost of living. Unable to find employment, they were living in their car. His only income was his monthly service-connected disability check. A VRC case manager booked a room for this family at a hotel that offers a discount to VRC, using donated funds, until permanent housing could be secured. The veteran’s Nurse Assistant certification had expired, and his VRC case manager searched the Arizona nursing website and discovered that he could renew his registration online at no cost. With his renewed certification, he was able to find employment at a local nursing home. Meanwhile, VRC helped get the veteran and his family situated in a three-bedroom house and also provided referrals for maternity care, school enrollment, food stamps, and a PTSD support group.