New Program For Helping Tulsa Veterans Is Having An Impact
TULSA, Oklahoma - Hundreds of veterans are getting help in a new way, which could make Tulsa’s plan for helping vets a model for other cities.
The new system ties together several agencies helping veterans and veterans’ individual needs are tracked to make sure they get all the help that’s available.
Service groups say that homelessness is one of the greatest threats faced by veterans in need. They say there are many issues that can lead to homelessness, which makes all of the issues get worse.
The City of Tulsa and Tulsa’s Community Service Council established a new system a year ago to work on the problem.
“We have 35 agencies involved right now,” said Vanessa Finley, CEO of Community Service Council. “They have handled 1,100 referrals for 700 veterans.”
The system worked, and worked quickly, for Robert Albritton.
“Total process time, four days and my rent was paid,” said Albritton.
He had lost his job and needed rent money – and a job.
He says he got that and more.
“Just the support and encouragement, just hang in there, hang in there, but it was tough, it was scary,” he said.
“We have some amazing agencies and they’ve been helping veterans for a long time,” said Pete Luitwieler from Oklahoma Veteran Connections. “But you could never tell who else was helping that veteran and where they might need to go next.”
The new system helps ensure veterans don’t fall through the crack. The agencies involved provide help with many areas, including housing, work, education, rent and deposit money, food, clothing, transportation, legal aid, and mental health.
“You name it, we try to find an agency that’s good at providing that,” said Luitwieler.
The gateway into all of the assistance can start with a phone call to 211 – that’s the helpline for social services.