We have one positive and one sad veteran story for Veteran's Day. This is the story of many groups and individuals working together can move mountains. The Veteran's Affair staff found a 67 year old female veteran living on the streets of Cleveland in a car near a church on the near West Side of Cleveland. She refused to go into shelter because she could not give up her two dogs. One dog could be considered a companion animal for fair housing consideration; two dogs are a stretch. The veteran refused to take the animals to the APL out of fear that they would be destroyed. This made it impossible to find even a temporary place to live.
Care Alliance staff contacted the Cleveland Police who found a safe place for the dogs and got the dogs seen by a veterinarian because of the relationship with the K-9 unit. The Veterans Service Commission was willing to pay for short term hotel assistance while the female veteran was completing housing applications. Because of her age there are housing opportunities available in the community. The Frontline Services Veterans program is helping with rental assistance to get her into housing. She also may qualify for rental help from the Cleveland Department of Aging. The pet issue can be a huge obstacle for homeless people. Many are so attached to their pets that they cannot find a safe place to live that is also safe for their pets.
This was a feel good story of many groups working together to find a safe place for this woman who had served her country. We also hope that this marks a change for the Veterans Service Commission to be more responsive to the needs of homeless veterans. This elderly veteran finally found stability with the help of many different people and organizations in Cleveland. Thanks to the CPD, Care Alliance, Cleveland VA, Veterans Service Commission, Frontline Services and the many others for honoring this women's service by going out of their way to help.
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