Rachael Arndt always wanted to be involved with helping the homeless. She said that she believes "everyone should have a home to call their own." As the program director for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), Rachael has achieved her goal of making an impact by becoming directly involved with ending homelessness.
Rachael began at Opportunity House as an intern (as a matter of fact, she interned three times), and she started her career as a case worker for women and children the day after she graduated from college. Though moving from college to Reading overnight was a bit hectic, the transition was smooth, and Racheal was excited to continue her cause with a team of co-workers who are also passionate about ending homelessness.
After some time working with women and children and some time off, Rachael eventually began working as a case worker for the SSVF program in Schuylkill County. It was not long before she became the SSVF Program Director in Reading.
Supportive Services for Veteran Families at Opportunity House thrives on meeting one goal: providing permanent housing for veterans. SSVF assists homeless veterans, but also veterans who are in danger of losing their home due to financial detriment. While low or zero finances is the number one reason that many face troubling times, the underlying reasons vary such as loss of jobs or layoffs; apartment complexes and buildings are sold; lack of budget skills; raised utility bills; and drugs and/or alcohol. Rachael explained that sometimes it is something as simple and as frustrating as just not being able to catch up, and "we're all one bad decision and paycheck away from being in the same situation."
The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program at Opportunity House is unique in that more veterans meet the qualifications which require one day of active duty. The veterans that SSVF helps are all different types of people. Though the population consists of a wide range of veterans of different race, gender, and age, two individuals, Michael Williams, and Michael Sando, were willing to share their SSVF experiences.