TFA program saves a veteran and his son from homelessness

In his time of dire need, The American Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) program came through for Gerald Evans when others turned him away. Because of a TFA grant that helped pay for rent and electrical bills, Evans was able to keep his 16-year-old son, Jaylen, and himself in a safe home instead of finding themselves homeless once again.

“I don’t know if I could’ve survived being homeless one more time after finally getting off the streets and into a place of our own,” said Evans, a Marine veteran from Melrose Park, Ill. “(The American Legion) had compassion for me during a time of need. If (the Legion) hadn’t come through, we would have been evicted.”

Aside from his eight years in the military, Evans has worked as an electrician. But ever since his wife passed way two years ago, Evans felt that he and his son could never catch a break. “Troubles rained and poured in our lives,” Evans said. “Thanks so much (to The American Legion) for keeping us with a roof over our heads that we waited so long for and almost lost!”

The Legion’s TFA program has provided more than $16 million in cash grants to Legion-eligible veterans with minor children since its inception in 1925. The grants – which benefit on average 650 families and 1,500 children yearly – help families in financial need meet the costs of shelter, utilities, food, clothing and medical expenses. TFA is limited to minor children (17 years or younger) whose biological parent, or legal guardian, is a veteran and is, or would have been, eligible for American Legion membership. However, Legion membership is not required. Veterans who wish to apply for a TFA grant must first contact their local Legion post.

Newly elected American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan has made TFA her fundraising project, as well as the Legion’s service officer program to ensure expert assistance, free of charge, is offered to veterans and their families.

To support Rohan's fundraising efforts, donations can be made online or by mail.

For online donations to the Commander's Charity Fund visit www.legion.org/donate. Payments by check can be made payable to American Legion Charities and put “Commander’s Charity Fund” on the memo line. Address is P.O. Box 361623, Indianapolis, IN, 46236-1626.