On December 2, 2016, a Gulf War Veteran, his fiancée, and their dog arrived in their native Lancaster County after driving two days from Florida. The housing situation they believed they were returning to did not come to fruition, so the couple, who had no income and only $100 to their name, began sleeping in their Durango in the frigid winter weather.
On the 4th day of January, with no money and nowhere to turn, the veteran called the Lebanon VA Medical Center to ask for guidance. He was put in touch with the VA Outreach Worker for Lancaster County, who was able to get the couple into a hotel for two nights while referring them to Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) at TLC/Veterans' Victory House Lancaster, a program of Tabor Community Services. SSVF staff then requested a referral from the PA Wounded Warrior program, which was able assist the couple so they could have a roof over their head until, with the assistance of SSVF, they could obtain permanent housing in northern Lancaster County.
This veteran, who had served during the first Gulf War, was experiencing numerous and serious health problems that had gone untreated in Florida. Within days he was enrolled at the Lebanon VA Medical Center and began receiving treatment for the loss of one eye, neuropathy, IBS, a stomach ulcer, and migraine headaches. To date, the VA has made progress in the treatment of all his conditions and is currently making him a prosthetic eye.
He was also referred to and has met with the Lancaster County Veteran Service Officer and a claim has been submitted for a VA Pension based on his Gulf War service. The couple had difficulty transferring SNAP benefits from Florida to Pennsylvania when they arrived here, so SSVF staff took food boxes weekly from private donations and from local food banks. Dog food was obtained from the Pet Pantry in Millersville, and other needs were met through various channels.
This past Monday SSVF staff received an e-mail from the veteran couple (who had been away from their children for an extended time) that read “Had a great weekend, first time in 5 years my kids spent the night with me thanks to you and Tabor!!!”
Thanks to all of you who support TLC/Veterans' Victory House Lancaster and our veteran programs; you helped make this happen!