I am a self employed veteran who is having a rough time, partially due to an injury and partially because, well, work slowed down. I was injured while working as a correctional sergeant to supplement our income. My fiance is a stay-at-home mom, and I stuff as many hours into a paycheck as possible. I was injured taking drugs away from a convicted felon. I was then denied medical care for hours, demoted and told I had to go into general population while injured, on crutches and a knee brace. Turns out the end of my femur was bruised. Though-I don't think so Tim. So, after a month and a half of no income - oh yeah, I forgot that part. After 90 days I was eligible for insurance. I wanted it, so in April 2013 when my 90 days arrived, I spoke up. I was told the info would be mailed to me. Nope. Every pay period, same story. Anyway, we fell behind on bills. I healed - mostly - and went back to work full time as a painter. What small savings we had, gone. Oh, and no food stamps - income bracket was too high (I made a whoping $10.00/hr. It's all the OT I put in. Oh, and since I resigned because I didn't want to be around the convicted felons who I took drugs away from every day in a dorm environment while on crutches, and knee brace - no unemployment. Got denied. So, back to work I go as a painter. Things went well, we were barely treading water, but barely is better than not. So then work slows down. Really slow. But, we pay rent and so forth. Work still hasn't picked up, and even though we aren't behind, the landlord says if we aren't paying come December 1st, he will proceed with eviction. We call around, and either help organizations are broke, or they only do certain things for certain people. We have food, thank God, due to friends and family, who aren't doing so great themselves. Our gas gets shut off. Great. So, we use space heaters responsibly and heat water to bath us and the kids - oh yeah, family of six by the way. youngest will be two in February, oldest is nine. Also, four and six year old on the weekends, when our 300,000 mile mini van that doubles as a work van and kid hauler can get to the kid exchange point. Anyway, so no or little help local. Even the township trustee can't help. So, being an honorably discharged US Army veteran, I call VA. Guess what? they say they can help, and the landlord is good with it. They will provide help with rent and utilities for three months. I say Great! I don't want to live on government handouts, I want to work (yes, I even applied to Walmart this week) The day before Thanksgiving, they call and say they can't help because our gas is shut off. I know. I'm really being serious here. They cannot help with our utilities and rent because my gas is shut off. Evidently, this Social Worker, who I am sure is really trying to help but can't, has found that the state of Indiana says if your gas is shut off, your house is "uninhabitable." Maybe for a rock. However, even though I exercise regularly, I am no rock. I realize that an invention known as space heaters can really be advantageous here. Also, it really doesn't take a full tub of water to bathe in. My kids are just as clean as when we had gas. So am I, so is my fiance. We have electricity, we have running water, no we don't have cable and if we didn't own a business we wouldn't have cell phones. As I said before, we don't have a fleet of BMW's. Actually, We don't even have one BMW. We have a 300,000 mile oldsmobile rusty-most-stuff-on-it-is-broken-or-is-missing mini van. Anyway, so I'm told they can't help. However, they did tell me that once we are evicted and homeless - we seriously don't have anywhere else to go, and as I am currently broke as the proverbial Job's turkey, we can't stay in a hotel-they can help us there. To recap: Facing eviction, locals can't help, family and friends are barely getting by or about in our same boat, broke and nowhere else to go - VA tells me one day they can help, and the next day they can't because my gas is shut off - but oh, call back when your homeless and we can help you then. Really? On what planet does that make sense? Even though we have every necessity at the moment - heat, water, shelter, food, transport, clothing, etc - because or gas is shut off they won't help us with rent or utilities. I really thought it was a bad dream, it boggles my mind so badly. I don't want to live off of taxpayer's dollars, however, it looks like the hard working guy who is down on his luck and thinking of his family can't get help - yet people who won't work draw unemployment, food stamps, free or low rate housing and more. All I want is a helping hand - not a handout. Even the VA website states that homelessness for veterans should be prevented. They have the opportunity, but due to gas being shut off, they won't help with utilities or rent. Well, here's your sign. http://www.va.gov/homeless/about_the_initiative.asp
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