#Power of a job: Homeless veteran discovers WorkSource isn’t only about finding a job

Happy Workforce Wednesday!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

Every week, we spotlight a different Power of a Job success story. This week, we bring you Seth Maier, who helps connect veterans to jobs, training and other services at WorkSource Spokane.

For veterans or anyone, WorkSource Spokane isn’t only about finding a job, Seth says. Through his story about helping one homeless veteran, Seth shows how WorkSource can help people overcome barriers preventing them from achieving what they want in life.

Here is Seth’s story.
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I want to share a story today about a homeless female veteran who I worked with recently. She moved from the East coast to the Spokane region due to health conditions. She was homeless for about three years and had gotten herself to Spokane hitching rides. It wasn’t a very safe situation.

She had experienced a lot of trauma in her life – both during and after the military. By the time she got to me, she had a lot of trust issues. It took us a few meetings for me to get a clear understanding of what she needed.

She really wasn’t employable when we first started because of her issues, but she had connected with the Veterans Administration (VA) while on the East Coast. Unfortunately, she had kind of given up on the system because there’s a lot of roadblocks and barriers working with the VA, and she’d lost trust. Unbeknownst to her, the system was working for her, but because of her homelessness, the VA couldn’t contact her.

The VA did award her a pension, and though she didn’t have a bank account for the VA to deposit it, the money accumulated. When we reconnected her with the VA system, I got her to trust in it again, and the VA was able to find her and award her the funds.

The money immediately got her out of her homeless situation. She’s in a better spot now and she’s getting access to care through the VA system. She may even find herself employment-ready in the future. For right now, she’s connected to services that she’s already earned through her honorable service.

I wanted to share this story because I really want veterans to know that coming to WorkSource isn’t always about employment. Whatever you’re facing – maybe you have significant struggles in your life and you’re not sure what resources are in your community. Veteran representatives at WorkSource are familiar with all the community resources. It doesn’t matter what barrier you have; we likely have the solution. We’ve got partners in the community so we can introduce you to other helpful specialists and make sure you’re getting treated with respect and dignity.

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