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Helping Veterans Bounce Back

2015-02-24-Len McCrae-b-crop-bkgdPhoto credit: S:US

Len McRae was a homeless veteran who, in his own words “bounced around the streets a lot.”  He lost his job in 2014 and was struggling to find full-time employment and maintain secure housing. What compounded his situation was that due to his age and medical issues Len had become extremely anxious about interviewing.

While serving in the navy, Len was trained as a dental technician but when he resumed civilian life he decided instead to work in social services and found temporary work as a client care coordinator and then as a vocational rehabilitation specialist with the VA. When he lost that job and was unable to find work for five months, he knew he was going to need help.  That’s when he came to S:US for housing and employment assistance. Our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program sprang into action and secured permanent housing for Len in December 2014.  Even before we found Len housing, we went to work helping him secure employment.

Len was always very enthusiastic to participate in job club workshops and met regularly with our employment development manager. Our staff was very impressed with how open Len was to exploring different opportunities with his job search and we helped him secure several interviews.  When he needed professional clothing, we provided it for him from our on-site career clothing closet.  We also assisted him with creating a professional resume. Len was initially very nervous  but through individual counseling sessions we were able to help this veteran build back his confidence and put all his efforts into his job search.

Last April things came together for Len as he began his new, full-time, permanent position at the Manhattan VA Medical Center as a vocational development specialist. In his new role, Len does outreach and is responsible for gathering job resources for veterans and providing pre-employment coaching including interview and resume preparation. When asked what he thought of S:US and the services that were provided to him he responded, “I am very grateful that S:US is helping veterans and I’m very happy that I’m able to help veterans too!”

You’ve come a long way, Len and we are proud of you!

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