Showing Up to Serve Veterans Who Have Served

Tajuana Cerutti, Communications Manager

While living with friends Marietta, NY, a veteran named Larry* reached out to Catholic Charities of Onondaga County’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program after he was asked to leave due to limited space. Larry suffered from autism, cluster headaches, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He slept on a sofa in the midst of a noisy and chaotic household, often triggering his PTSD episodes and migraines. Although his friends were trying to be supportive, they were no longer able to manage the demands that came with their own brood of pets, in addition to a houseguest. 

Larry went through the intake process to identify all of his needs that could be met through the SSVF program. Once the screening process was completed, staff connected him with services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Larry received medication for his headaches and started seeing a counselor for his PTSD. He was also able to start working on getting a service-related pension for his mental illness.

The SSVF team got Larry housed, then provided him with a security deposit and several months’ worth of rent. He was referred to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program too.

Larry gained immediate access to a local food pantry, allowing him to have emergency food items to help eliminate that initial need. A SSVF staff member successfully connected Larry with employment services and furnished bus passes to ensure that he could get to and from work.

In order to bring awareness to other supportive services, Larry was able to visit Clear Path for Veterans to learn about the resources available through their programs. Since contacting the SSVF program coordinator, Larry has completed his steps to get back on his feet. He is currently working full-time as a loss prevention specialist, and has an interview opportunity with Transportation Security Administration at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport.  

Although Larry has applied for rental assistance through the VA, he believes that he will soon be able to pay his own rent without help. Larry is grateful for SSVF’s services and attributes his success to the program. He continues to express that his caseworker went above and beyond the call of duty.

Much like his own commitment to protect and to serve, Larry understands what it feels like to experience independence as a result of the dedication of others. He maintains that he never could have done it on his own.

To learn more about SSVF or to connect a veteran in need with resources, call 315-558-4387.

*The following testimonial is true. Names of the individual(s) referenced have been changed to protect their confidentiality.

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