“Once a veteran regains his confidence, he can be propelled back into mainstream society,” says Richard Allen, the new case manager for a Future Generations initiative serving rural veterans. As part of a grant from the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) program, Richard aims to directly serve 80 veterans and veteran families who are homeless or at risk of being homeless across four counties of southern West Virginia.

As a veteran himself, when Richard thinks about Veteran’s Day he thinks mostly about the buddy system. He first learned about this concept in the service. In the buddy system, each soldier is each other’s keeper.

Enthused about working with Future Generations and helping local veterans in this project, Richard states, “I’m the type of person that likes to be hands-on and so this applied way of teaching that Future Generations promotes means everything to me. I also value the fact that I can use the buddy system principles in the SSVF project."

Richard also set some ambitious and admirable goals at a recent veteran’s coalition. “The government wants to touch 100,000 veterans nationwide. I am working with 80 veterans in this project, but my personal goal is to help organize and operate this program in excellence so that other programs in WV will call us to replicate what we do.”

As a case manager, Richard works one-on-one with each eligible veteran to: 1) Find an immediate alternative to homelessness, and 2) Prevent at-risk veterans from being homeless. Richard will also link Veterans with other available programs and services, especially those already offered by the Logan's Veterans Center in Henlawson, West Virginia. Such services offered may include: health care, financial planning, income support services, employment and training, legal services, child care services, and especially housing counseling. As part of his work, Richard will help veterans and their families create a practical housing plan to reduce the likelihood of homelessness in the future.

The goal of the project, which is funded by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and spans four southern WV counties (Logan, Lincoln, Mingo, and Boone), is to promote housing stability among low-income veteran families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This is all part of a Veteran Friendly Community Initiative. When he is not traveling for the project, Richard mainly works out of the Logan Veterans Center with three other organizations that provide veteran services.

Throughout his life, beginning at an early age, Richard dedicated his life to serving and helping others. He places a priority on nurturing his relationships with others. Richard has five children and a wife, Tressia Allen. Besides Henlawson, he also used to live in Xenia, Ohio. Richard draws many of his life lessons from his time in the service. In the airforce for two years, he participated in Desert Storm as an F 16 Crew Chief. In addition he served in the National Guard for six years. 

For more information on the SSVF project, visit their website.

You may also contact the Program Director, Nicky Bassford at nbassford@future.org.

For an article on the Logan Veterans Center, read a recent press release.