Veterans Day: A Community of Heroes
Thank You to Our Veterans
To commemorate Veterans Day, Angela Wolf – Service Coordinator for the Housing Our Heroes program – hosted a luncheon for veterans. A sunny day brought 12 veterans to the Cambridge Square North apartment community room to enjoy a meal and conversation.
The luncheon was part of a new programming initiative launched five months ago to build community amongst the Housing Our Heroes veterans. The goal was to give them an opportunity to learn about resources to support their needs and build connections with one another.
“I view my role as helping veterans be successful as residents and at life,” said Angela. “It’s exciting to see camaraderie develop as our programming has evolved to include these luncheons.”
Housing Our Heroes
When the Gene B. Glick Company and Glick Philanthropies started its Housing Our Heroes program in 2018, there were roughly 80 homeless veterans in Indianapolis with housing vouchers in hand who couldn’t find a landlord willing to accept their voucher. Through Housing Our Heroes, Glick collaborates with the Department of Veterans Affairs and HVAF of Indiana to educate veterans about the Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance and case management services available to them. At Glick, this includes the support of a dedicated Service Coordinator, as well as connections to organizations looking to serve veterans. Housing Our Heroes now serves 22 veteran residents across two Glick properties, with five more residents approved and awaiting an open unit.
Angela is proud to see residents who are starting their fifth year in the program, especially after a challenging 2022 when five veteran participants passed away of natural causes.
“It is an honor to help these veterans and be trusted by them,” Angela shared, who swelled with emotion as she recounted one resident who opted for in-home hospice care at Cambridge Square North because he wanted to remain at home until he passed.
The broader Indianapolis community plays a critical role in the program, helping to provide veterans with support services and connections.
“When you don’t have a mission anymore, it’s really tough,” said Aaron Shaw, Indianapolis Veterans Court Mentor Coordinator and a partner of the Housing Our Heroes program. “Connecting with other veterans can create a purpose driven life again.”
“Veterans do not feel understood,” said Jose Flores, Indiana Vet to Vet Vice President and Vet Court Mentor – another partner of the program. “We are here to help.”
A Community of Heroes
Michelle, a veteran resident participating in the Housing Our Heroes program for a second year, lives with her 10-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 2005 to 2011, Michelle moved to Indianapolis to support her family. She fell on hard times and is grateful for the stability she now has.
“I’m blessed to have a place to come home to,” she said.
Robert, another program participant, served 12 years in the Army and needed support finding safe housing after being a victim of domestic abuse. His new home is now within walking distance of his daughter and grandkids.
“If a veteran is looking for solitude and peace, I’ve found it here,” he said. “It’s been wonderful living here.”
The Path Forward
The National Coalition of Homeless Veterans estimates the number of veterans without permanent housing to be 33,136 as of November 2022, which is down from 37,252 in 2020. Still, the organization estimates that more than 10% of the homeless adult population are veterans.
Angela is excited about the potential of expanding the Housing Our Heroes program to other Glick properties and helping to find more resources to meet the diverse needs of veteran residents. She added that while many veterans have traveled hard roads, it’s motivating to see the progress they can make with the right support.
“These residents didn’t have to volunteer to serve our country, so to be able to help them when they are in need is something I take very seriously,” she said.
Angela is grateful to have a job where she comes to work to help people.
“A company that creates a department devoted to resident success is a team I am glad to be a part of.”
The Resident Success department was created by the Gene B. Glick Company and Glick Philanthropies to implement strategies that support residents through a Service Coordination (SC) program, resident success centers and efforts to help vulnerable populations. Through the SC program, Glick provides support services and connections to community resources residents need to be successful.