Former Navy Aviation Mechanic Find Solace Through SOME’s Veteran Housing Program

Throughout life, people experience challenging times. Rae Miller was a decorated Navy Aviation Mechanic and Plane Captain, responsible for jet functionality and takeoff.

She never thought that she would lose everything in 2017. Ms. Miller, a mother of two, lost her job working at the Department of the Interior. Then, just weeks later, her 20-year-old son was in a car accident, totaling her car. “I held on as long as I could. I went to all of my eviction hearings. At the last hearing, I asked the judge to give me until Thanksgiving.” Ms. Miller and her daughter lost their apartment in November 2018.

Ms. Miller and her daughter moved into an extended-stay hotel. When unable to pay for their room, she reached out to USA Cares, a non-profit that provides post-9/11 military veterans, service members, and their families with emergency financial assistance and post-service skills training to create a foundation for long-term stability. USA Cares paid two additional months for the hotel room for Ms. Miller and her daughter, but after that, they were on their own.

In December 2019, Ms. Miller felt like her luck had begun to change. While meeting with her veteran outreach social worker, Ms. Miller learned about a vacancy at Fendall Heights, SOME’s affordable housing development specifically for veterans. Soon after applying, Ms. Miller and Nyla moved into their two-bedroom apartment at Fendall Heights.

“Moving here put us in a better position in life. I am more organized thanks to Mica, my case manager.”

SOME partners with the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s (DCVAMC) Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) to assist at-risk veterans and veterans who may be experiencing homelessness. DCVAMC provides SOME with an onsite clinical worker who advocates for veteran residents, aids in obtaining DCHA housing vouchers, and links them to VA resources and benefits.

Fendall Heights residents also receive supportive services available to all SOME affordable housing residents. SOME supportive services include personal assistance, employment services, job readiness activities, transportation, dental services, help with stress and emotional health medical services, counseling on homeownership options budget planning, and more.

Ms. Miller is grateful for the programs and services at SOME, especially the job readiness activities. All SOME affordable housing residents receive supportive services to help adults and children reach their full potential and empower them to lead increasingly independent lives. Thanks to the support of the Fendall Heights staff conducting mock interviews, Ms. Miller secured a temporary federal position.

Nyla, who is now 14 years old, participates in SOME’s TRACE Program, or the Teen Resident Action Committee on Empowerment, a committee made up of SOME teen residents to decide on activities, programming, and volunteer opportunities for the group. In April, TRACE hosted Teen Week, where all SOME teen residents met each other through a Zoom call, had a movie night, a social distancing BBQ, and other activities.

Ms. Miller feels that “SOME is an advocate when you are down, the staff cares about you and wants you to see you succeed. It’s like you’re a part of a family, the SOME family.”