The first thing Priority Veteran caseworkers will tell you about their work is that no two cases are alike. Their clients have served in our armed forces and have made great sacrifices in their service to our country. Upon returning home, many veterans find themselves without stable housing and other basic needs. Organizations like Priority Veteran work to ensure that these heroes can find safe and permanent housing and teach them the skills they need to remain financially stable.
One such veteran is Bobby Dawson, a wheelchair-bound Gulf War veteran who weaved in and out of stable housing since his discharge.
Dawson served three years in the Army during the Gulf War. When he returned home, he had no safe place to live or income. He was referred to Priority Veteran by a Veterans Administration social worker while recovering from surgery. His modest trailer was in desperate need of repairs and he had no running water or electricity because he was unable to pay the utility bills.
“With United Way and Priority Veteran, it’s a blessing that there’s somebody out there who really cares for people who can’t do for themselves in their time of need,” Dawson said.
PV assisted him with applying for social security benefits, paid his utility bills and arranged for improvements to make his trailer wheelchair accessible. He also received a gas heater because he had no way to heat his home as well as a refrigerator to replace the small cooler he had been using to keep his food and medications cold.
Priority Veteran caseworker Misty Moon also accompanied Dawson to follow-up medical appointments. “Misty irons out all the “ruffled ends” for me, she’s my angel,” Dawson said. “Without this program, I wouldn’t have survived. [Priority Veteran has] helped me to believe in good and hope again by bringing me food when I was hungry, a gas heater when I was cold, help with social security when I had no income and safety by paying my bills.”
An initiative of United Way of Central Alabama, Priority Veteran works to help veterans like Dawson get access to local, state and federal resources. The program began in 2013 with a $2 million Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant. Since then it has been able to provide services to more than 1750 homeless or near homeless veterans in Alabama.
Priority Veteran serves former servicemen and women and their family members throughout Alabama with offices in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee.
The need continues to help more veterans like Dawson. You can help serve more with a donation to Priority Veteran. Individuals and groups can also organize drives to collect basic household items for the veterans as they transition into stable housing. To donate or see a list of household item needs, go to the Priority Veteran website CLICK HERE.