United Way of West Florida’s Information and Referral Hotline, 211 Northwest Florida, recently received a call from a veteran in desperate need of support. After being transferred from 211 to one of our Florida Veteran’s Support Line Care Coordinators trained to offer emotional support and connect veteran’s with community resources, he shared his story with her.
Glenn had served in the military for two years, but despite receiving an Honorable Discharge for his service, he had received no disability compensation or VA healthcare. Now, Glenn’s only source of income was from part-time work at a local automotive shop. He was living in subsidized housing with his fiancée and required near-constant use of life-sustaining oxygen.
Glenn was 4 months behind on his rent and facing eviction, as well as the impending disconnection of his water and electrical services – which was imperative to ensure his ability to remain on his oxygen. His health complications had cost him previous employment and he was fearful he would soon face a similar situation. Glenn disclosed that he was ineligible for some services because he had previously received their assistance, and he did not qualify for other services because he lived in subsidized housing.
He was running out of options.
Armed with a comprehensive grasp of Glenn’s situation, our Care Coordinator began to scour the community for support services. She began making calls and working with other community-based organizations to find assistance that may be available to him. Eventually, directors of two different local agencies – one of which was a fellow Veteran – pledged to help Glenn. One was able to cover his water bill and all four months of past-due rent to ensure that he would remain in his current housing situation, and the other offered to pay the entirety of his electrical bill over the phone that day so that he would have uninterrupted use of his oxygen.
Because of the dedication and compassion of the Care Coordinator, she was able to address three issues immediately jeopardizing Glenn’s health and quality of life. For veterans and their loved ones who don’t know where to turn, the Florida Veteran’s Support Line is there to help. Simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-844-MyFlVet (693-5838) to speak with a fellow veteran trained to provide emotional support and share connections to community services. This service is completely free, confidential, and available 24/7.
*211 Northwest Florida and the Florida Veteran’s Support Line are both completely confidential services. For the purpose of this article, a fictional name has been attributed to this client. The Florida Veteran’s Support Line is locally managed by 211 Northwest Florida and United Way of West Florida.