With so many organizations, figuring out whom to trust for help can be difficult for Philadelphia veterans. Some services will even come to veterans directly, like the mobile resource center based out of the Philadelphia Regional Benefits Office on Wissahickon Avenue (pictured above).
Here are five essential resources that aim to help veterans with everything from compensation benefits to networking opportunities.
Philadelphia Regional Benefits Office
Located at 5000 Wissahickon Ave., this regional office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides Eastern PA and South Jersey veterans with compensation benefits, pension benefits and even home loans. Veterans can also file for disability claims through the regional office. The office will also set veterans up with on-the-job training in plumbing, hotel management or firefighting.
Veterans Multi-Service Center
In addition to benefit assistance and job training, the Veterans Multi-Service Center at 4th and Race streets has multiple resources available for homeless veterans. The multiservice center helps homeless veterans in multiple degrees, from immediate care to securing residence in a shelter. The Better Business Bureau of Pennsylvania has also approved the center for its work with veterans. Struggling families of veterans can seek assistance through the center’s Supportive Services for Veterans and Families, providing financial help and connections to community resources.
The Veterans Group
A small boarding house for veterans has expanded to 43 beds for veterans and their families across three buildings. Working closely with the VA, the Veterans Group provides veterans in need with a case manager who helps them locate valuable resources and opportunities after coming home. “They’re not really aware of the resources out there,” said Matt Dunphy, Executive Director at the Veterans Group. The group is located at 3209 Baring Street near Drexel University and opened a new “Wellness and Learning Center” that will celebrate its first anniversary in November.
Utility Emergency Services Fund
While the Utility Emergency Services Fund office is located in Suite 840 at 1617 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, it’s likely you’ll find USEF’s staffers out on the streets helping homeless veterans. Scott Brown of the Veterans Affair Commission at City Hall (which works closely with UESF) beams when telling the story of Kermit Putnam – a former homeless veteran who was helped by UESF and is now employed by the organization.
“Kermit Putnam is a great miracle,” Brown said. “He’s really worked through the program. He is a success story, and they care.”
The Philadelphia Alliance for Supportive Services for Veteran Families
Project HOME, located at 1515 Fairmount Ave., partners with other local veteran organizations to host a program called The Philadelphia Alliance for Supportive Services for Veteran Families. The program supports low-income veterans who are homeless or near being homeless. In addition to help finding housing, veterans can receive housing and benefits legal assistance, credit repair assistance and temporary financial support.
– Text and Images by Jenelle Janci and Nicholas Cutrona.