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.