A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

April 2001/May 2001

Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund Report

Helping Brother Vets In The Heartland

A VVA Staff Report

VVA’s Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund provides grant support to two innovative and effective programs in Kansas City, Missouri. The programs--the Vietnam Veterans Emergency Assistance Fund and the Kansas City Homeless Program--are supported by VVA Chapter 317 in Kansas City and by VVA’s Missouri State Council, respectively.

The Emergency Assistance Fund is run through the Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries in Kansas City and administered by Jeani Wells. She has been able to help 35 Vietnam veterans and their families in the last year. Ten of those veterans were referred to her by social workers at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. Eight were referred by the local Vet Center; fourteen by the Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries; and two were walk-ins at the chapter office.

The fund helped the clients with rent, utilities, and transportation. Seven of the clients had been homeless. One, who had recently been diagnosed with AIDS, was staying in a shelter that did not accept people with that disease. He is now in a transitional living program and has gotten a job as a printer with the Kansas City Star.

The fund can react to specific and unique needs. A veteran who was passing through Kansas City had his truck break down then towed by police. Ron Adams of VVA Chapter 317 took him to the tow lot, and the fund paid tow and repair fees.

The VVAF grant to the Kansas City Homeless Program has covered the costs of serving two hot meals each week to about fifty veterans during the winter months, which are particularly harsh on those who do not seek conventional shelter. The program also distributed extreme cold-weather sleeping bags, clothing, blankets, candles, and cooking utensils to the city’s homeless. Some five hundred homeless people received Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

   

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