The Home Front Cares has been providing one-time, emergency financial grants to active duty military and veterans in Colorado Springs and Denver since 2003.
“The organization was initially started by two retired Air Force colonels, Bob Carlone and Joe Henjum, who wanted to make sure that the families of service members received support during deployments,” says Eric Evans, executive director of The Home Front Cares.
“We support active duty military and veterans of all eras,” says Evans. “Our grants help with things like rent, utilities and transportation costs. We help keep the families of service men and women off the streets, help them get into a home perhaps, or keep the heat on,” he continues.
The Home Front Cares helped over 1,000 service members and their families during the past year with grants totaling approximately $400,000.
“We get referrals for clients from our partners, such as the VA,” said Evans. “Applicants undergo a strict vetting process in order to receive a grant. We want to make sure that this grant will be sustainable, will really help get the applicant back on track financially.”
Even with the thorough vetting process, The Home Front Cares works to act quickly to process each grant. “We work very hard to get a check to the vendor – the landlord, the utility company, etc. – within 24 to 48 hours,” says Evans.
Evans said The Home Front Cares is vital in Colorado due to the large military presence in our community.
“We have high numbers of veterans in Colorado Springs and throughout the state,” he said. “Some have separated from the military or have decided to return to Colorado after a deployment. There is often a gap time while they are working with the VA, getting their housing and employment settled, and that is where we step in.”
Bernard Felton, who served in the Army from 1977-82, sought help from The Home Front Cares when he and his family had to move suddenly.
“The owners of the house we were renting decided to put the house on the market, and we had to vacate within 30 days,” he says. “I am on Social Security, and my wife and I have a special needs son. We had just paid several large utility bills in a row, so didn’t have enough money for a deposit on the new apartment.”
“Once I applied for a grant (from The Home Front Cares), I got a call back from them within 24 hours saying I had been approved. I was just so happy, I started dancing around the kitchen, praising God,” he remembers.
“If it wasn’t for them, my family and I might have been homeless,” Felton continued “Everyone there is really caring; you can just feel the kindness when you walk into the office. We need more organizations like The Home Front Cares, to help veterans in their time of need, to let us know we haven’t been forgotten.”
“We at The Home Front Cares feel very strongly that we need to respect and serve those who have protected our freedom,” said Evans. “We make sure that our veterans will not slip through the cracks.”