Rodney’s Story

After being evicted, Rodney was in despair. A Vietnam veteran with some health problems, he had not been able to keep up with the rent after being laid off from his job a few months ago. Even worse, he had temporary custody of his daughter’s young children and was worried sick about their safety.

He had called NH 2-1-1 and checked in with the shelters, but was told there was no space for at least a week.  Rodney ended up sleeping with the kids in his car for a few nights before a friend invited them to stay with her for a month. When Rodney called one of the shelters for an update on bed availability, the homeless outreach worker asked Rodney “Have you ever served in the military?”

When Rodney informed her of his four years in the Army in the late 60s, including a tour in Vietnam, the outreach worker referred Rodney to the VA’s Homeless Outreach services. He was quickly linked to a local non-profit that managed a veteran-specific housing program which provided both case management and financial assistance. Rodney was immediately assigned a case manager who helped Rodney find suitable housing and accessed financial assistance to help with a security deposit and first month’s rent. Concurrently, the case manager linked Rodney to employment supports and vocational rehabilitation services to help ensure Rodney could get his life back on track and maintain stable housing.

If the housing worker had not asked about Rodney’s military status, he would not have been connected to veteran-specific housing programs that his military service had earned him the right to access then he and his children might still be living in a car, in and out of shelters, or on a friend’s couch.

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