Carole Brown Success Story

Carole Brown is a 67-year-old U.S. Army veteran who found herself in need of Soldier On’s help.  Having served during the Vietnam Era, Carole was about to be discharged from the East Orange, NJ VA Medical Center and had no place to go.

She was homeless, had no clothing and no money.  In April 2014, a representative from the East Orange VA called Soldier On on her behalf, and a Soldier On case manager visited her four times over the next few weeks to go over housing applications prior to her scheduled discharge.

However, when she was discharged on May 19, she still did not have any place to go. A  Soldier On peer mentor picked her up and brought her to the Union County Department of Social Services to try to get money for a hotel room. She was denied assistance because of her income and their next stop was Chase Bank to set up an account for Carole.  At the same time, her Soldier On caseworker reached out on her behalf to Doug Breen at the Middlesex County Veterans Office. He and the local VFW chapter agreed to pay for her placement in a motel until she had housing secured.

The next day, Kirsten, her caseworker, brought Carole to three housing appointments. They were able to find an available apartment at the Westlake Mews complex in Jackson, which agreed to waive the application fee.  Carole however needed to get her identification and earnings documents from her old apartment to complete the application and move into the apartment.  The new tenant there, however, informed Carole that all of her belongings had been thrown away.  That night, Carole spent her second night at the motel. Kirsten created an email address and online accounts to the VA and the Social Security Administration for Carole to provide documentation for the application.

On May 21, Westlake Mews Apartment Complex approved Carole’s application and Kirsten made an appointment for the following day to sign her lease. Heather brought Carole to the Social Security Office to receive a re-issued Social Security card, and then to the Elijah’s Promise shop to pick up some clothing.  That night Carole spent her third and final night at the motel.

On May 22, just three days after Carole was discharged from the hospital, Carole moved into her new apartment. Carole’s Social Security and VA checks had not yet been deposited into her new bank account so Soldier On provided Westlake Mews with Carole’s security deposit and first month’s rent. Since then, Carole’s checks have been deposited.  She now has a home and income.

A food pantry in Toms River, NJ supplied Carole with eight bags of groceries. Her new property manager gave her furniture for the new apartment. Generous neighbors also came through, giving Carole some necessities that she was lacking. By the end of the day, she had a recliner, towels, toiletries, and basic supplies for her apartment.

Carole was now well supplied, with an income, and a secure apartment.