Jess Boykin, left, with daughter Ellie.

Something truly disastrous must happen before some Veterans will seek help from programs such as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF).

Take Trudy “Jess” Boykin. Now a firefighter, this U.S. Army Veteran served from 2007 to 2009 in Iraq, where she suffered physical injuries — including shrapnel to her leg from an improvised explosive device — and PTSD related to her high-stress convoy security duty.

In other words, she’s not one to shrink in the face of much, or seek help without some overwhelming need. That’s exactly what arrived Labor Day weekend of 2020, when the Holiday Farm Fire devoured the rented manufactured home in Blue River where she lived with daughter Ellie, now 12. The blaze consumed all of their belongings, and Boykin believes that the flaming trauma felt up and down the McKenzie Valley led to her father’s fatal heart attack not long afterward. “I felt like the fire took everything from us,” she says.

The two lived in a FEMA-funded motel room and then in a camp trailer before securing replacement rental housing with SSVF’s help more than a year after the fire.

“I knew I couldn’t afford to replace a home, while replacing everything in it, without help,” Boykin says. After enrolling in SSVF in late 2021, she secured a two-year fixed rental subsidy from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), along with security-deposit aid to get into a replacement rental in Blue River.

SSVF is one of SVdP’s supportive housing programs aimed at preventing homelessness, and specifically supports low-income Veterans and their families. SSVF offers case-management and financial help to keep Veterans in stable housing, sponsored by a VA grant and aided by donations to help families with minor expenses.

Boykin says she didn’t know about SSVF until she needed help, but now admits, “they’re a lifesaver!”

More about SSVF

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) provides temporary financial assistance and case-management services to help low-income Veterans navigate and overcome barriers to housing, and support them in securing and maintaining permanent housing. Click here or on the logo at right to learn more about SSVF and the rest of SVdP’s Veteran Services offerings.

Just look at some of the numbers that illustrate SSVF’s local impact in 2021:

  • 194 veterans were enrolled in SSVF’s Rapid Rehousing program. (73 of these veterans reported being chronically homeless, and 123 of the total achieved stable housing during the year.)
  • 78 veteran households successfully graduated from SSVF’s Rapid Rehousing program.
  • 16 veteran households successfully graduated from SSVF’s Homelessness Prevention program.