The Hoosier Veteran’s Assistance Foundation will use a $500,000 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans and their families who are having trouble finding housing, jobs, or are struggling with mental health issues.
“The grant allows us to provide 24 beds for veterans who are chronically homeless and have a chronic mental illness such as depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia,” spokesperson Debra Desvigne says.
Cindy Thomas, a social worker and the foundation’s vice president, says the group works with around 150 veterans at a time, although it is estimated that there are more than 500 homeless veterans in Indianapolis who need assistance.
Thomas says veterans develop mental health issues as a result of combat, but that many others dealt with these kinds of problems before enlisting in the military.
“A lot of them actually before they even went into the military they already had some traumatic experiences,” she says. “So what we find is that its just I think that being in the military in what they’ve seen and heard just exacerbates the problem.”
Thomas says that when vets come in, they are not just handed a check. Individuals who receive assistance are assigned a social worker who outlines a treatment plan. These plans involve setting individual goals that include finding housing, participating in substance abuse programs, engaging in mental-health counseling, and looking for work.
Veterans requiring assistance do not have to be from Indianapolis to qualify for the program.