Giving Veterans the Respect They Deserve
Homes for All Veterans Supports Single Mother in Quest to Find Home and Support Children
Sometimes, the biggest obstacle in helping a veteran at risk for homelessness is getting that veteran to accept help.
That’s a challenge that the RMHS Homes for All Veterans (HAV) staff encounter every day. The HAV program provides case management for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It’s funded through a contract with the VA and serves about 1,000 veterans a year.
These are veterans who honorably served their country. Many feel a sense of shame in asking for support when they later find themselves in need. At RMHS, one of our core values is to “respect every person.” There are very few individuals who deserve our respect more than the men and women who served in the military.
To combat veterans’ resistance to accepting help, we coach them on the benefits of our program, which they earned through their service.
Kela Massaro is one of those veterans. She served in the Air Force in the Gulf War era. In 2017, the owners of her home in Colorado Springs doubled her rent. She couldn’t afford to live there any longer, and she faced the possibility of living on the street with her teenage son and daughter. That’s when the Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center referred Kela to Veteran Support Specialist Shirleen Murrell in the Homes for All Veterans Colorado Springs office.
Shirleen was impressed with Kela’s determination to get her finances in order so she could one day pay for her children to go to college.
Kela started a job at Xerox, put together a five-year financial plan, and worked with Shirleen to find a two-bedroom apartment close to her children’s school. Homes for All Veterans provided Kela with the security deposit she needed to move in.
Shirleen recognized early on that Kela would accomplish her goals. “I told her, ‘You are a very strong mother. You’re going to handle it and you will get through this.’”
Today, Kela is working her way up the corporate ladder at Xerox and her son, Ryan, is away at college. Her daughter, Zoe, will graduate from high school soon, too.
“Were it not for this support, my children and I would not have been able to move into our comfortable, and safe home,” Kela said.
Welcome New Homes for All Veterans Leader
In January, RMHS welcomed James Sieffert, the new Homes for All Veterans operations manager. James served in the Air Force in Germany as an air traffic controller. After retiring from the military, he transitioned into human services, working with families, the elderly, and people with disabilities. He has always maintained a passion for working with veterans and volunteered his time to assist homeless veterans to get linked to services and benefits. Most recently, he was an intake supervisor at Colorado Access. James will oversee the Homes for All Veterans teams in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. You can contact him at 303-636-5828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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