Organizations working to keep vets warm in extreme cold

HVAF holds outreach hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – For the past 20 years the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation has been helping homeless veterans get housing and critical services. They have worked to fill the void to get our veterans the services they need.

And the need grows even larger in weather like we’ve been experiencing.

“It’s almost impossible to find any services to help any kind of the homeless veterans or sick veterans that need help,” said Kevin Somerville, who served in the US Navy from 1981 to 1984.

According to the 2015 Point-in-Time Homeless Count, there are nearly over 800 homeless veterans across the state living on the streets on any given night.

And the problem is getting worse, especially in the winter months.

“When it’s this cold we’re seeing so many more veterans come in,” said Debra Des Vignes, the VP of Marketing for HVAF. “They’re needing winter gloves, hygiene items, and they’re needing anything that can help them keep warm.”

Somerville started going to HVAF after he got sick with blood clots, and had to leave his job.

“They paid six months of my rent, my utilities until I was able to get back on my feet to work,” said Somerville.

Now Somerville is a baker at the new downtown Marsh.

“Doing what I did 30 years ago in the military,” he said.

He still goes to HVAF when he needs to. Every Tuesday and Thursday they hold outreach hours.

At their downtown location veterans can get services, hygiene products and food.

“Our services are critical; they’re life changing. the veterans come in, they have no where to go, they would otherwise be out on the streets,” said Des Vignes.

For people like Somerville, it’s also piece of mind.

“Lots of vets out there that are homeless, hungry, don’t have the help,” he said. “Somewhere along the line someone needs help eventually and it was a blessing.”

HVAF holds outreach hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m..

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