More than 460 veterans received services and explored job opportunities at the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s Fourth Annual Veterans Appreciation Event.
Some 40 veterans were interviewed and hired on the spot at the event, which was held November 10 at the University of the District of Columbia’s Van Ness Campus Student Center.
“Each and every one of you served proudly,” said DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman. “Now it is our turn to serve you.”
The event featured a host of companies looking to hire veterans. It also included information on supportive services and programs available to veterans.
“We are trying to go above and beyond understanding you and your needs,” said Ronald McCoy, director of the Housing Choice Voucher Program. “We know you need more than just a roof over your heads in order to get you back on your feet.”
Navy veteran Franselene St. Jean spoke to the crowd about homeownership. St. John was able to use her voucher towards a mortgage for a new home. She and her family were on the verge of homelessness before she connected to the Veterans Affairs suicide hotline, which suggested DCHA.
“My family would not be doing as well as they are without D.C. Housing Authority,” said St. Jean.
In addition to information on homeownership, pre-inspected apartments, and veteran assessments for services, some 62 individuals received free haircuts and 19 people got manicures thanks to Bennett School of Cosmetology. Other partner organizations included the D.C. Department of Employment Services, Friendship Place, Monumental Sports, AmericaWorks, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, U.S. Department of Labor, Howard University, and many more.
Clarence Vaughn, a former two-time Super Bowl winning member of the Washington Redskins, and two the National Football League cheerleaders were on hand to support the veterans. There were raffles for tickets to the new African-American History museum, toiletry set giveaways, and several veterans were able to sign up for a free breakfast on Veterans Day thanks to a partnership with D.C.’s IHOP restaurants.
Tyoka Jackson, owner of D.C.’s IHOPs, welcomed veterans on November 11 alongside his veteran father and nephew at the family’s two restaurants, one in Southeast and the other in Columbia Heights.