Helping a Disabled Veteran Escape the Streets

Posted on: November 26, 2018

With generous support from people like you, New Orleans became the first city in the U.S. to end homelessness for veterans in 2014. Yet, there will always be a need to ensure equal justice for all. Today, thousands of veterans in southeast Louisiana continue to “combat” life on the streets. Together, we can defend the rights of the brave men and women who served our country and ensure that they have a safe and stable home to sleep in at night.

Recently, you gave hope to a 34-year-old veteran who struggled with serious health issues and helped end his homelessness.

After leaving the U.S. Army, Mr. Leonards struggled with PTSD, depression, and several other medical conditions. Despite his illnesses, he managed to build a life for himself as a civilian and work a full-time job. Unfortunately, over time, his medical conditions got worse preventing from maintaining a job. After losing his job, Mr. Leonards was evicted.

With nowhere else to turn, Mr. Leonards slept in different homeless shelters in downtown New Orleans. When the shelters were full, he went under the overpass to sleep on the cold, hard sidewalk. Faced with the reality of having no income, no safe place to lay his head at night, and increasingly severe health problems, Mr. Leonards felt helpless and defeated. Thankfully he quickly found hope at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).

Within minutes of walking into our office, he met with a caring and passionate attorney who immediately opened a Social Security disability benefits case for him. SLLS also referred him to one of our partner agencies who quickly helped him obtain rental assistance so he could get off the streets.

Thanks to our advocacy, Social Security approved Mr. Leonards’ application for disability benefits in only 4 weeks (a process than typically takes 4-8 months to complete). Now that he has the economic support he needs to afford his rent, he can focus on his health.

Because of people like you, homeless veterans and people with disabilities can access critical legal help they otherwise could not afford. You have the power to defend their rights and to ensure that they can get on their feet and move forward. Thank you!

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