OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “This program basically has saved my life,” said local veteran John Howard.
Howard is now off the streets because of programs like Supportive Services for Veteran Families.
“Not only has it given me the actual food, clothing, shelter thing, but the security that comes with that,” said Howard.
They help homeless veterans by finding short term housing.
“’You need to get a job, you need to do this,’ well, where am I going to go when I get off work, where am I going to take a shower, how am I going to wash my clothes?” he said.
Howard served in the military from 1987-1991.
Afterwards, he had an accident where he lost his leg leaving him unable to work.
“I said ‘God, why have you got me in this trench?’ Constantly. He said ‘that’s where the fight is … that’s where I need my soldiers,’” said Howard.
Because of the SSVF program, Howard has a roof over his head and food in his stomach.
They help hundreds more veterans like John, but the pandemic has made it challenging.
With higher numbers of veterans seeking services, Goodwill staff tells KFOR they’re having trouble finding landlords willing to take these veterans in.
“There are a lot of landlords out there right now who are not able to evict anyone because of the eviction moratorium and that puts a challenge on us,” said Senior Program Manager, Tanya Howard. “They come back from war and overseas and they’ve seen things that the average person hasn’t, and they typically don’t come back the same. That’s one of the issues that we’re having is finding landlords to look past those barriers.”
The SSVF Federal Grant helps pay for rent, utilities, and even moving costs.
They just need landlords willing to spare some room and make a difference.
“If you’ve got a place in your heart and you want to be a better person and to try to improve your circumstances you can’t go wrong here,” said John.
Volunteers of America, just one group that works to employ veterans while they’re in short term housing.