After the Boston Marathon bombing, the city adopted the motto “Boston Strong.” At the same time, the Army’s motto was “Army Strong.” Army Veteran and Bostonian Ronald Scott embodies both… and shows us what true strength means.
Scott joined the Army Reserve in 1989. After separating briefly, he was motivated to re-up as a human resource specialist following the 9/11 attacks. “I was blessed with the skills and training to be there to help those who needed it,” he recalled.
Scott later deployed as the sole operator of his headquarters’ human resource section. He found one tool particularly helpful in supporting his unit: a coffee station from a company where he previously worked. He remembers it being a bright spot, saying, “It helped things move a lot smoother.”
HUD-VASH provides assistance
While Scott and his troops ran on coffee overseas, something obstructed his smooth transition home. Soon after separating, a fire damaged his home. He and his wife found themselves in a situation where they didn’t have enough savings to live but had too much to qualify for assistance programs.
At the VA Boston Health Care System, Scott learned about HUD-VASH, a collaborative program pairing HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with VA case management and supportive services. The issues Scott was facing fell away with help from HUD-VASH, giving way to a much brighter future.
Funding allowed him to keep the lights on
Scott received a HUD-VASH voucher within 30 days and moved into a new apartment soon after. While he was thankful for the roof over his head, he remained stressed over a series of past utility bills also hanging over his head and impacting his credit.
To help with Scotts’ transition, his VA caseworker connected him to flexible funds provided by Section 4201 of the Isakson and Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020, which provides emergency funding during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“A chance to pay back all that’s been given to me,” Scott said.
The funding allowed the Veteran to keep the lights on and to see the light in difficult situations. When speaking of the services VA provides, he said, “I hear people harp about VA, but I’ve seen the bright spots within the system. It’s easy to complain and tough to compliment when something is done right.”
“VA made miracles happen”
Today, Scott is comfortably housed and has a new operation: spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
His other mission? Helping other Veterans exit homelessness by promoting the use of the VA benefits they earned. He enjoys encouraging others, saying, “It’s my duty to shout from the rooftops and let people know where help is available. VA made miracles happen,” he said. “This gives me a chance to pay back all that’s been given to me. With great power comes great responsibility.”
Learn about VA programs
- Read more about how the 4201 authority helps VA provide flexible assistance to homeless Veterans.
- Read more about the HUD-VASH program to determine if you are eligible to receive rental assistance.
- Veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness should contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
- Visit the VA Homeless Programs website to learn about housing initiatives and other programs for Veterans exiting homelessness.
- For more stories like these, visit the HPO website and subscribe to the Homeless Programs Office newsletter to receive monthly updates about programs and supportive services for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness.