Housing & Homelessness Services – Vignette

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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Select your profession to see how:

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” senior services professionals can:

  1. Help older veterans feel understood and respected for their military service
  2. Make effective referrals to Veteran-specific programs and resources
  3. Help military widows access survivor benefits
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” children’s services professionals can:

  1. Help a student thrive when a parent is deployed
  2. Support families facing deployment and reintegration
  3. Improve peer sensitivity to military children
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” employment and vocational services professionals can:

  1. Identify a warrior’s transferable skills
  2. Connect Veterans to military-friendly employers
  3. Help a returning Service Member access veteran job training programs
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” faith-based professionals can:

  1. Identify families in need of extra help during deployment
  2. Motivate communities to come together on behalf of those who serve
  3. Connect military families to the supports and services they need
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” healthcare and medical professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant patient
  2. Understand the relationship between military experiences and medical symptoms
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” higher education professionals can:

  1. Help a warrior acclimate to a civilian learning environment
  2. Improve peer sensitivity to veteran classmates
  3. Effectively accommodate service-connected disabilities
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” housing services professionals can:

  1. Identify families that qualify for Veteran-specific housing programs
  2. Address service-related barriers to stable housing
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” law enforcement professionals can:

  1. Keep veterans and their families safe
  2. Build trust and rapport in difficult situations
  3. Partner with providers who help Veterans in crisis
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” legal services professionals can:

  1. Support justice-involved veterans
  2. Identify legal challenges related to military service
  3. Link to effective resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” mental health professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant client
  2. Understand the impact of military stressors on mental health and substance use
  3. Help a family understand the emotional effects of deployment on the whole family
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” social services professionals can:

  1. Engage reluctant Veteran clients
  2. Meet a military family’s unique needs
  3. Coordinate services between veteran and civilian providers
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” women’s services professionals can:

  1. Partner with veteran service providers in crisis situations
  2. Identify deployment-related triggers and risk factors
  3. Identify individuals affected by Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
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Call Us (844)-4ASKVET
Email Us AskTheQuestion@eastersealsnh.org