When talking with Joyce, you can already sense the relief that she has about finding the Foothills’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program.  In the late 70’s Joyce received an honorable discharge from the Army.  She went on to work as a teacher and manager at a local beauty salon.  She’s had long-term back issues that surgery hasn’t been able to remedy.  She was in excruciating pain. 

“After surgery I really thought I’d go back to work in no time,” she said.  But things didn’t get better, they got worse.  She was devastated when she realized she would never be able to work again.  Last year her home burned down and she lost nearly everything.  Thankfully she wasn’t at home at the time.  She didn’t have homeowner’s insurance and was struggling financially.

“When I lost my house I lost my dignity,” she said downheartedly.  “I felt like nobody cared.”

She quickly found herself homeless.  “The cheapest thing I could find was a rundown camper,” she said, “it was terrible.  I couldn’t believe where I was living.”

She was referred to Foothills’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. “I’ve never had to ask for help before,” said Joyce.  “I’ve been independent all my life.”  She swallowed her pride and called Foothills.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the SSVF project financially assists veterans who are facing eviction to remain housed or who are homeless to obtain housing through a variety of financial and supportive services such as rent payment, security deposit, utility deposits and other forms of assistance based upon the veteran’s need.  Joyce came to the agency for an informational meeting and before she knew it, case managers provided a rapid response to get her safely housed.

Her new apartment is close to a grocery store and the post office; which is important to her because she doesn’t have a car.  The program paid her security and electric deposits.  They even provided her with some donated furniture.  “That meant so much to me,” said Joyce.  “I still can’t get over it.  This is a beautiful place to live.  I’m very blessed to be here.  I have great neighbors that check in on me, help with transportation, and even bring food over.”

She credits the SSVF program for being there for her when no one else was.  “It’s going to take me a long time to get straightened out,” said Joyce, “but I’m making it.  I don’t know what I would do with Foothills.”

SSVF services are available to eligible residents or those relocating to Bath, Breathitt, Clark, Clay, Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Lee, Madison, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, and Wolfe. Project eligibility: 1) Active Duty service with a discharge other than “Dishonorable”, 2a) Facing eviction with an eviction notification from current landlord or 2b) have no current permanent housing and living in a shelter, street, car, park, etc., 3) Household income must not exceed 50% of area median income.

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