San Antonio Veteran helps fellow Veterans get VA benefits and find housing
When Army Veteran Tony Grant saw homeless Veterans in the San Antonio area, and other Veterans at risk of being homeless, he felt a responsibility to help connect them to VA benefits and services. Grant had the idea of creating a Veteran-focused ministry within his church, True Vision Church, where he serves as a deacon.
“I just went to may pastor and said, ‘I want to start a ministry called Veterans Helping Veterans,’” Grant said, “and he stated, ‘What do you need.’”
Grant asked his church only for a copy machine and some meeting space. With those items, the Veterans’ ministry opened for business.
During monthly meetings at the church, Veterans can explore benefits and other issues with other Veterans and get advice from VA claims specialists and guest speakers.
“The partnership that I have with VA is very crucial and very important to this ministry,” Grant said, “so that they can hear it straight from the subject matter experts.”
Grant’s ministry recently helped save one Veteran family at risk of losing its home. When he learned of the family’s situation, he brought it to Herman Montalvo, the South Texas Health Care for Homeless Veterans coordinator who contacted representative Laura Kauffman from VA’s Houston Regional Benefit Office, who then expedited the Veteran’s claim and secured the income the family needed to keep its home.
This is an example of “wonderful cooperation—from the community to the local VA to our regional office in Houston in completing the file,” Montalvo said.
“We need to take care of these Veterans,” Grant said.
By partnering with VA through Veterans Helping Veterans, that’s both the mission and the result.
Encourage Veterans who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless to call or visit their local VA Medical Center, where VA staff are ready to assist, or ask them to call 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).
Holly Hirsel, a social worker, employed with VA’s national Homeless Program Office where she works with the community engagement team to develop and maintain partnerships with public and private entities to advance the availability of resources to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and an undergraduate degree from Cleveland State University majoring in both psychology and social work.
The video above was produced by public affairs specialist Dwayne Wingfield, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.