Episode 394 Rachel Masch-Perez MANA House’s Fight Against Veteran Homelessness Transcript

This transcript is from episode 394 with guest Rachel Masch-Perez.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody, welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Rachel Masch Perez. Rachel is the Community Engagement Director at MANA House. And MANA House is a peer run organization dedicated to providing personalized resources, community, and advocacy for homeless and formerly homeless veterans.

With a mission of collective strength and support, Manor House strives to end veteran homelessness by offering essential assistance and fostering a sense of belonging [00:01:00] with the Within the veteran community. And so we’re going to talk about Mana House in just a minute. But first I want to welcome you to the show, Rachel.

I’m really glad to have you here.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Thank you so much for having me here. Um, as, as well, I really appreciate what you do for the veteran community, and I feel honored just to be a part of that. So,

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, that’s awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Um, so I guess to start, can you tell us a little bit about. I guess maybe let’s talk about the veteran homelessness issue to begin with. Let’s talk about maybe some of the factors that contribute to veterans becoming homeless. I know it’s probably, uh, every case is different.

It depends kind of answer, but, um, you know, are there some. Maybe common factors that, that you’ve noticed.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Yes, definitely. And so, many of the veterans that we serve at Manor House are those who have been [00:02:00] living on the streets, and so, thank you Um, homeless shelters, who have even been displaced by family or assisted living, and even the chronically homeless. We have really served, um, um, all of the kind of places where veterans kind of bleed and live while they are on the streets.

And so, some of those factors that contribute the veterans to becoming homeless. are issues such as alcohol and substance abuse or even mental health issues. Many of them even have a combination and so that just makes it even harder for them to, um, get off the streets and back into civilian life. And so, um, also I wanted to add that due to the housing rate and the market just How it’s all increased.

It’s really made it difficult for our veterans to find and obtain affordable housing. And [00:03:00] we are one of the only shelters in Phoenix that accepts um, veterans with a criminal background or maybe has a criminal background. or maybe even has a felony charge. We are a shelter. We don’t, you know, judge or stigmatize that and due to that, too, limits their access to finding affordable housing.

And so, these are just some of the factors that I’ve witnessed but also have, um, also learned by being here, um, with what our veterans deal with.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I saw a thing just earlier. I think it was today or yesterday, uh, where in the Phoenix area. So this is kind of primarily the area that you, you guys serve is in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Um, for someone to be able to afford. A home in the Phoenix area, uh, they need to be making somewhere in the six figure range, uh, you know, like low six figures, uh, to be able to [00:04:00] just afford a, even just a starter home, not nothing

Rachel Masch-Perez: definitely, like,

Scott DeLuzio: you know,

Rachel Masch-Perez: even, even me and my husband, we have struggled in finding affordable housing within our own income and income, too, is also another factor that our veterans also deal with because many of them, um, either rely on, um, their benefits from the VA or Social Security program. And they either have to, um, every month, they have to decide, well, do I pay for my medications, or, uh, my other bills, or food?

And so, so many of them, um, decide, well, I better take care of myself, or if not, Um, and their physical limitations and even their health issues cause them to, you know, pay, make that a priority. And then, um, their, um, their, um, rent has either increased or even their, like, [00:05:00] landlord is not working with them.

And they, you know, instead of dealing with them and helping them, they just give them an eviction notice and say, you’re on your own. And it’s just It’s like a tumultuous process for our veterans and it’s just a reoccurring thing that so many of them just can’t afford it because of the increasing, um, rates and just the market itself.

Scott DeLuzio: right. And you were talking about someone who maybe is living off of like disability benefits and,

Rachel Masch-Perez: Definitely.

Scott DeLuzio: Even if someone is a hundred percent disabled through the VA,

Rachel Masch-Perez: It’s

Scott DeLuzio: that’s not a ton of money that they’re

Rachel Masch-Perez: not like, um, I believe from, from the, from the VA, when a veteran is between like, um, 80 percent and 100 percent disability, their check is about 25, 000 to 3, 000 per month, and now rent Like, a [00:06:00] studio apartment for the, for the Phoenix area has now gone up to almost 1, 200. That’s like double what they get for their income each month, and then adding on their other expenses.

It’s just not It’s not reasonable. It’s not even attainable for our veterans. And so it’s like, and so they are constantly having to push back. And, um, luckily with our program, they can stay with us, um, for, for, for as long as it really needs to, depending on their circumstances. Cause we aren’t a, we aren’t an organization that says, Oh, um, so many days are up, we’re going to kick you out.

We, we don’t want to do that. We want to make sure that When they leave here, that they can be able to, um, be on their own and be self sufficient. It’s

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that’s a good way to look at it too, because if you just give someone 30 days, you can stay here for whatever the time period is. [00:07:00] Um, chances are that’s not going to be Sufficient for whatever that is, right?

Rachel Masch-Perez: long because many of our veterans, when they come into our program, they are literally working from the bottom up. They have to, some of them have to find and get all of their documents in place because they were on the streets for so long that they lost all of their important documents. And so, they have to go to DES, Social Security, the VA, just to gather all of their information just so that they can start over and find that job or increase their benefits.

And then, finally, apply for that apartment or, um, job. Any type of um, like even if our program doesn’t work for our veterans, we help them find a better program or even a recovery place or a halfway house so that again, they get the support that they need and they’re not going back onto the streets.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:08:00] Yeah. I think that’s important because once when they go back onto the streets, it, if I’m putting myself in their shoes right now, um, and I’ve never been in their place, but this is just me kind of imagining what they may be going through. If. I’m in a place, they say they’re gonna help me, they’re gonna, they’re gonna, you know, work with me so that I can get my own place and become, you know, a little bit more stable.

And then all of a sudden, oops, some time clock is up and now I’m back out on the streets. I don’t know that I’m really going to want to trust. Other people who are, who are saying, Oh, yeah, I’ll help you, right?

Rachel Masch-Perez: and a lot of the veterans do not even trust the VA system, let alone even how programs work because they always have that either 30, 60, or 90 day kind of, um, timeline. And if they don’t do everything in that timeline, They’re kicked out and [00:09:00] some programs are like that. I’m really thankful that we aren’t.

We, we, we, we’ve taken all of the barriers and the issues that our veterans need and if they need that extra time or that extra support, we’re there. We, we try to help accommodate that as the best as we can. So

Scott DeLuzio: And we talked about some of the factors that contribute to the homelessness in the veteran population, like, you know, the substance abuse and mental health, uh, sometimes both, uh, issues. Are there any specific demographics or groups of people within the veteran community that you see are, uh, you know, More highly represented in this group of homeless population.

Um, you know, is it, you know, for example, like younger veterans versus older or men versus women, you know, things like that. Is there any specifics that, that go into that?

Rachel Masch-Perez: since Mana House is a male [00:10:00] facility for veterans and Phoenix actually has a higher rate of male veterans than female veterans, and so male veterans need a lot more help and resources, um, and so we have on average, um, each veteran here is roughly in their 50s and up. We do have some that are, um, that are younger than, than, than that, but most of our veterans But most of the veterans that we serve are 55 or, um, years older.

And so they come with physical limitations or already health issues. And so we, um, we try our best to make sure that while they’re here, they’re working on, you know, bettering themselves, but also finding the, um, The goal is for them to be sustainable and, um, have their apartment.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Um, yeah. And I, I, I. That’s a good point that you brought up that, you know, Manor [00:11:00] House is specifically geared towards the male, uh, veterans. Um, and, and I guess that does make sense how, um, how you guys are set up and everything. So, um, you know, it actually was surprising when you said the age that the average, uh, age of the folks who are in your facility.

Um, I would have suspected that it would have been a younger. Age group that would have

Rachel Masch-Perez: A lot of

Scott DeLuzio: highly represented, you

Rachel Masch-Perez: yeah, um, a lot of people think that, but a lot of our veterans who come into our program, many of them are, um, As, as what I said previously, are either coming straight off the streets, out of an assistance living area, or even sometimes, um, jail or prison. And so many of them are, um, kind of getting reacquainted back into civilian life, and we really help transition them into and be [00:12:00] prepared for what it means to be, you know, um, a civilian.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, sure. Yeah, that, that does make sense. Um, I think it was just my, you know, gut initial reaction is like, what, what would I think I would probably guess the younger ones probably who needed maybe a little more time to. Get back into civilian life, but someone who maybe has been in prison for 10, 15 years or something like that, obviously they’re going to be a little bit older.

And so, yeah, that does make sense that, uh, that’s the population that you guys are serving. And it’s not limited to that. Like you said, there are some, uh, some younger

Rachel Masch-Perez: We do have cases. Um, we, um, our, our younger veterans, they are mostly in, in their, um, late 20s to mid 30s. They, what, what they’re, many of their contributing factors for them be, [00:13:00] becoming homeless, much, much deals with relationship issues as well as, um, substance and mental abuse. And so many of them. Are kind of forced from their families.

Like you gotta, you know, work on yourself or they are just kind of done with dealing with what they had, um, and what they experienced in the military, that their families are just not there to support them. And so they revert to the homeless and being on the streets. And

Scott DeLuzio: own experience as I came back from Afghanistan and like a lot of other people, you know, dealing with mental health issues and things like that, uh, I was super fortunate to have my wife who was there and kind of supported me and helped kind of push me in the right direction to, you know, get the help that I needed and all that.

Um, but unfortunately, like you’re saying, that’s not always the case [00:14:00] with. with people, right?

Rachel Masch-Perez: so many of our younger veterans that are, that are residing here, they first have to work on bettering themselves as an individual. So tackling whatever, um, issues that they are facing in order to regain, um, independence and having their children back or having that relationship back with their family or wife.

It’s been. Being here, many of them work on that and at the end, some of them move back into with their families or many of them, like we have a resident that, um, this was a few years ago, he was working on, um, um, his, uh, community service and showing how like he is making the steps to being a parent that could take care of his children.

And he went through all of the, the. the things through DES and child services and he was able to get a two bedroom apartment [00:15:00] and his job was able to, uh, help afford and make sure that he can get his children back and so when he moved into his new apartment he got to take his two children with him and, um, it was just a really great story and I’d love to share that one, so,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that is good. And I’m glad that You guys were able to help facilitate that, right? To get him back on his feet, to help him get to that place where he’s now stable enough that he can have his children with him. Um, that’s That’s a, like an awesome success story. You think about it that way, right? Um, you obviously want families to get back together.

If, if something caused them to come apart, you obviously don’t want them to be a part at all if, if possible, but you know, things happen and life happens and it’s not always. You know, the, the picture perfect moments, uh, in life. And

Rachel Masch-Perez: It [00:16:00] is. And,

Scott DeLuzio: do have that difficult stuff to deal with right

Rachel Masch-Perez: and it’s really great that, that we have this, this shelter here for our veterans to deal with that kind of interim or in between so that they aren’t, so they don’t have to worry about, you know, um, how, what, how, how they will get food or having the roof over their heads and just making sure that, you know, having those, having clothing and, Being able to access a shower and computers, just the minimal stuff that everyone should have access to, they have it here and that’s how they get back on their, um, feed and become that independent, um, person that they’ve always wanted to be.

Scott DeLuzio: now. You said that there’s no, uh, you know, time limit as far as how long they, they can stay at the manor house. But is that, what’s the average, uh,

Rachel Masch-Perez: So, the average length of stay, [00:17:00] um, for a veteran here is between 79 And a hundred and twenty days,

Scott DeLuzio: Okay,

Rachel Masch-Perez: um, it used to be, um, we each veteran who does come into our program, we, due to the due, due to, um, us being funded through the VA, we do have to kind of follow some type of program. And so that’s us. Each veteran who comes into our, um, into our facility, we start them on 90 days being here.

But, um, most of the time, they need longer just to be able to obtain all of their goals. And we have case managers here and they help develop a game plan or um action plan that the veterans are trying to aim for and accomplish while they’re living here and that’s how and so many of them need longer than those 90 days so it’s becoming a lot more closely to four to almost six months that [00:18:00] they are living here.

Scott DeLuzio: sure, sure. And the nice thing about it is they have that flexibility, that, that ability to be able to stay there and use that time. And this is, This is not a thing, you know, for the listeners. This is not like a permanent solution that, that they’re coming there and this is now home. You know, this is, this is kind of, kind of more like a, a life raft that you’re, you’re giving out to them to keep their head above the water.

Um, yeah, eventually they need

Rachel Masch-Perez: never thought of it that way. Yeah, well, um, our, our, our motto here with Catholic Charities is we walk alongside all of our, um, of, of anyone vulnerable who needs our help and we aren’t to that as, as what I’ve stated previously, we aren’t a, oh, okay, we’ve. You’ve, you’ve, you’ve, uh, you’ve, uh, you’ve had your stay and we’re going to kick you out.

We’re, if they’re not ready for, for that next [00:19:00] step, we want to make sure that they are. And so we will work and continue to work with them so that they, they can again be able to take that next step and not feel like, okay, um, I can take this. I can tackle it. And they have that, that courage and just the resources to do that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think just going back to that lifeboat example, I think maybe any of the shelters Help the homeless, uh, people are, are probably can fall into that category of being a lifeboat for people. But the way you guys do it, it’s, it’s a lifeboat and you stick with them until they get back to the shore.

Uh, just using it as an analogy,

Rachel Masch-Perez: I like that, yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: whereas some of the We’re some of the others though, where they have these 30, 60, 90 day, uh, limits that you can only stay there for that long. It’s like maybe bringing [00:20:00] them three quarters of the way back to the shore. And then they got to figure out the rest of the way on their own, swim back on their own.

But if they’re, if they’re getting to that point and now they’re. Having a swim back on their own. Um, they may get pushed further back out at some point and

Rachel Masch-Perez: Definitely,

Scott DeLuzio: that doesn’t exactly help, right? Yeah.

Rachel Masch-Perez: doesn’t because we’ve, with, um, we’ve had many veterans that have gone to other programs and they really, and, and they’ve, and they’ve asked me and, and told me what’s so great about this program is I don’t feel like I, I, I need to be. Um, there’s not that time. Time bomb, um, coming or, um, and also just the fact that you are here, you, like, we don’t treat them as, as, as a number as what other, maybe other agencies may, may, may do.

We treat them as that human and that person.[00:21:00]

Scott DeLuzio: addition to the, the housing you mentioned, uh, you know, helping out other veterans or helping out the veterans with other services, um, what are some of the things that. These veterans are in need of as far as the, uh, kind of addressing that root cause of the homelessness amongst these, these people.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Yeah. And so, um, besides helping them with, you know, finding. Um, finding that, like, like creating that, that game plan for our veterans, we work with a lot of different organizations that support our veterans through providing VA, um, benefits. So we always have, um, a VA person here on site. We also have resume and career bit.

and career building. And so, they help our veterans, you know, [00:22:00] um, create that resume to, to be able to apply for that entry level job. Even, um, we even have nurses that come and help our veterans, you know, maintain their medications. Um, and with me being the community engagement coordinator, I help really, um, Bring in those resources that the veterans have requested.

And so if they need help rescheduling for getting dental or eye or eye appointments, we have, um, groups that help with that. And so, um, my, my position here is really cool because I get to really create that need and, and find that solution for the veterans. And then, um, and then we continue with that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think that’s really great that you have the option and the availability for all these different resources for folks. And even if you don’t [00:23:00] specifically have that resource right in house or anything like that, you know, they can go through someone like you who can. Go in kind of researching, bring those people in to help them with those types of things.

So like you said, dental or vision, uh, type

Rachel Masch-Perez: Yeah, like, I, um, I’ve even helped veterans find, um, find a laptop for their job. So, I’ve even created a laptop program here for our veterans who are working and they need it for their, um, for their type of job. Um, also with bicycles, we provide bicycles for working veterans because, you know, transportation is also a limitation for our veterans here.

And so, um, we also do bus passes. We really want to not have, um, have any barriers, um, become barriers for our veterans. So we always try to find that solution.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And [00:24:00] you know, I think about the people who are in the military transitioning out into civilian life and the differences between military and civilian life. Right. I mean, in the military, pretty much. Most of your needs are being taken care of by the military. You have housing that taking care of food, uh, you know, all these, these things, you have a steady paycheck coming in, um, you know, all these things are, are being taken care of.

But once you get out, it’s like, there’s nothing, uh, being provided to you, you got to provide for all of that. And so

Rachel Masch-Perez: gotta learn it on, on your own.

Scott DeLuzio: exactly, and the way I see kind of what you guys are doing is you, you are providing. This stuff for the veterans while also helping them figure out how to provide it for themselves so that they’re, they’re not reliant on that and [00:25:00] learning to be reliant.

It’s, it’s like, okay, um, you, you break your leg, you’re going to need to, you know, get a cast and walk on crutches for a while, but you’re not learning to walk on crutches. So that you can do it for the rest of your life. You’re just using that so that you can get back to where you’re, where you need to be so you can, you can walk and run and do all the other things, right.

And so that’s kind of the way I see this is, is it’s that. The thing that they need in order to get to that next step so that they can be self reliant, so that they can take care of their, their finances, their mental health, or, you know, whatever they may be dealing with. If, You’re, you’re drowning in all this other stuff.

It’s going to be really hard to figure out how to do that. And so this seems to me like, like a great solution to helping these people get their lives [00:26:00] back together and get off the streets. You know,

Rachel Masch-Perez: I really love, again, our, our format and, and how we help, help, help the veterans. We really want to learn how they can help themselves. And since we, and, um, and since, um, we really promote a military lifestyle here. And so when the veterans are here, they really remember how, um, They, they kind of become family to each other and they really learn how, you know, many of them have to regain or reteach themselves how to take care of themselves.

And being reminded also, um, by the veterans too, is it, it, it, it also helps them see how they can become bigger and stronger. And we are a really great support mechanism here. And so we really like to build them up. And, um, we are just, again, a really big family here. And so, [00:27:00] even if the staff, if we can’t find the solution, or if we don’t have the answers, we’ll try to find someone who can, or we will, we will put in that connection.

So again, that veteran, instead of, you know, just, um, giving them the information, but actually learn how to utilize it, you know, taking that next step.

Scott DeLuzio: it’s, it’s the teaching them how to fish as opposed to giving them the fish kind of mindset, right?

Rachel Masch-Perez: Definitely.

Scott DeLuzio: if you just give them the answer, give them the fish in this example, you’re teaching them how to do it themselves so that they can do it the next time then they do become reliant. Right.

Rachel Masch-Perez: And so that then they can depend on themselves and not necessarily others or you know, um, and with that they, they really gained that confidence of I can do this. I want to be successful and so many of them who are now [00:28:00] kind of at the end, Stage of being here, they’re ready for that next step.

And they have all the, all the necessary, um, things that they have lined up or what they need to do, they’ve, they’ve accomplished that and they’re just ready to be, um, be, begin that next step of having and being on their own.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I don’t think, and I don’t know for sure, I’d have no data on this, but just my gut feel, I don’t think anyone really wants to be. Reliant on somebody else. I think there’s some satisfaction that comes from, uh, being able to be self reliant and doing things for yourself. Uh, I could be wrong on that, but, um, the way I see it, like I, I would love to see all of these people just, you know, not just getting by in life, but thriving in life

Rachel Masch-Perez: Yes. I love

Scott DeLuzio: advancing in their careers and moving up and all that kind of stuff.[00:29:00]

If. If this is what they need, that stepping stone, just to get them that little head start, that little nudge, um, and I’m not saying what you’re, you guys are doing is little by any stretch of the imagination, but just giving them that nudge to get them, uh, you know, on the right start. I mean, this seems like a great solution.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Thank you, and, um, I really love, love that, and like, for, for example, we had a veteran here. Who he’s, he’s graduating this week, but he’s been at our program for almost two years, just due to his barriers and, um, his, uh, and then just his, um, criminal background, and he’s finally found an apartment and he’s so ready for the next step, he’s, he now knows how to manage his finances.

He’s able to, um, um, he, he, he is all prepared for the next steps and he’s no longer. relying on us. [00:30:00] He’s like, Nope, I got that covered. Thank you. Or, um, Oh, I got that covered. I have this other resource and just seeing how they they now have the the ability to do it themselves. It’s like, okay, um, we just, uh, pretty much give them a hug and send them on their way.

And it’s just We really love how, and with my position here, so many of them come, come into our program being lost, not knowing what to do. And many of them are very, even, um, what’s the word? They are very reluctant to even want to, you know, Get that next help, or get the, or a, or a get, um, or just to try to, um, get back on their feet, and so having them in this type of environment really helps push them into wanting to maybe, okay, if he can do it, I can do it, and we have the [00:31:00] support for that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think that’s a great thing. Seeing that example of that, that person who is Moving out and it’s like, okay, I, I was that guy or I am that guy and they were in my shoes, but they are moving out and they are self reliant now. And they’re able to do this stuff. Maybe there’s hope for me too. And that’s, that’s a good way to kind of spread, uh, spread the hope, uh, amongst the, the folks who are there.

Um, so that they, they know that they’re It’s not like they’re a lost cause or anything, right? They, there is

Rachel Masch-Perez: many of them think that, like, oh, I can never change, or I, I can never you. But like, while they’re here, so many of them have a transformation. It’s, they are, they are so surprised that, wow, I was just grumpy. I didn’t want help. And then now they are like the helpful ones. They’re like, Oh, you need a ride to the SSI?

Oh, [00:32:00] I can help you. Or just being that helpful person. They really learn how to, again, we help each other throughout this process and the veterans even help each other.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that’s one thing I’ve learned through, well, being a veteran myself, but also through this podcast is that veterans want other veterans to succeed. They’re, they’re out there helping each other. And it’s like, for the folks who maybe don’t have any purpose, it’s like, if you see another veteran struggling, it’s like.

I don’t want that guy to struggle. I don’t want that, that person to be, uh, you know, in a bad place. So I’m going to do what I can to help them. And now that’s their purpose is to get out there and help people. And then that, that kind of sparks a little more motivation to do other things. It’s like, well, I can’t help this person if I.

Can’t take care of myself. So, okay, well, I got to get my stuff in order, too, before I can do that, and then, then they just start [00:33:00] helping each other, and that’s, um, you know, that, that’s a pretty cool thing, too. Now, you, you mentioned earlier, um, uh, Catholic Charities is the, uh, organization that, that is kind of, uh, the parent organization, if you will, uh, for, uh, Mana House.

Uh, Are there any religious requirements or anything like that that is

Rachel Masch-Perez: No,

Scott DeLuzio: into this

Rachel Masch-Perez: not at

Scott DeLuzio: or how does that work?

Rachel Masch-Perez: um, Catholic, so Catholic Charities, they, um, they, um, they They asked to, uh, to, uh, have us as one of their programs because they have only focused on helping veterans in the northern part of Arizona. So in 2015, they asked, um, Mana House, but prior to, to being called Mana, we were actually called the Madison Street Veteran Association.

We started in 2008 as its own agency. And it was started by 14 male veterans [00:34:00] themselves. And they literally, um, put this, this, they, they realized veterans need a step up. So we’re going to give them that step up. And we have, and so our motto here too, is veterans helping veterans. And so, um, in 2015, we were having struggles with finding a bigger location because we had a house, um, that was able to accommodate 54.

Veterans. Our, our, our location now, we can have up to 76. And we right, right now, we’re at 72. And so we are always, um, we’re always in, in, in fluctuation. But But one of our also things is you don’t need to be Catholic to receive our services. You don’t even need to be affiliated with any type of religion because we, we don’t discriminate with that.

And, um, we just go and follow the Catholic [00:35:00] teachings. Um, we really do the Good Samaritan. That’s kind of our motto with what Catholic Charities is. We help. Again, um, take that step and the Good Samaritan and walk alongside them in regaining their independence and, um, stability.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think that’s a good approach to take too because some, just like you were saying before, some people are not really fond of the VA just to put it lightly. Maybe, uh, they may not, you know, have any place right now for, uh, religion and, and they, but they still are in need of, of some sort of assistance.

Um, but. As time goes on, they may, um, they

Rachel Masch-Perez: may want to, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: to appreciate it and, and, you know, kind of learn more about it through, through that. Not, not to say that it’s a recruiting tool or anything like that, but

Rachel Masch-Perez: Oh, no, not at

Scott DeLuzio: is. It’s not that at all. It’s, it’s, it’s, It’s just [00:36:00] that, um, that, that may be a, uh, you know, a nice side, side effect of the, the benefits that they’re receiving as well, you know, um, so that’s, um, you know, I think an important, uh, piece is, is that, you know, yes, sure, it’s tied to a religious organization, but it’s not, um, you know, there’s no requirements for any religious organization.

affiliation or anything like that. Um, now are there, uh, religious services that are offered if they choose to, uh, take advantage of those through, through Manor House?

Rachel Masch-Perez: we, at Mana House, and at our facility, we have a rec room, laundry facility, and an all faith chapel, where we host recovery groups, and we have Bible studies there, and we even have, um, We, we, we want to include all denominations. So I try to work with our community, our community [00:37:00] partners, and they provide, um, Catholic services.

We’ve done Baptist, Methodist, pretty much anything in which our veterans would like to participate in. And I try to make that happen.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, um, you know, not only can they get their, their physical, you know, their finances and their, you know, other things like that, they can all get, also get their, their spiritual, uh, you know, benefits coming through that as well. So that’s, that’s great. That’s great. So, um, I know you said Manor House is in the Phoenix area and, um, you know, Catholic Charities kind of had, uh, some stuff going on up in Northern Arizona.

Where, where are the facilities located and where can people go to find out more information about getting, uh, help if they, they need it or if they know somebody who might be on the streets and it might be in need of this type of help as well.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Perfect, and so, um, our [00:38:00] address here at Manor House is 2422 West Holly. We are right off of the I 17, um, between McDowell Road and Thomas Road, and, um, we We are operational 24 7. So, we always have staff on site. If any veteran is, is wanting any assistance, they can call our direct number, which I can give is 602.

254 6785.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay.

Rachel Masch-Perez: We, um, and we also have a resource center for any homeless veterans, and it’s called the Community Resource and Referral Center. And in order for our veterans to get into our program, they need to contact them first to get a referral. [00:39:00] And so, um, they are open Monday through Friday, um, from 7. 30 to 4.

And they can help veterans find, um, access to shelters, health. Um, we, they, they, they call themselves the one stop shop for the homeless, um, community. And so we are one of those shelters that the home, that the veterans can come into. And they’re located right down the street from us on Thomas Road. Their address is 1500 East, uh, Thomas Road, Suite 106.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And I will put this information in the show notes as well. Uh, the, the address to, uh, Mana House, um, the phone numbers and, and all this other information that, that you just gave out, I’ll put that in the show [00:40:00] notes so that the, um, uh, the listeners, whether they’re experiencing, you know, homelessness themselves and they happen to find this information or, uh, you know, a lot of times they’re.

might be a loved one, a family member or someone who is aware that they have a, of, you know, someone on out on the streets and they aren’t in need of help. And maybe they just didn’t know where to turn. They came across this episode and, and they have the resources there. Um, you know, definitely reach out, call, uh, the phone number, you know, go in person and visit.

Um, and. And find out, you know, is this the right place? It’s, but to me, it seems like, uh, you know, in, in most cases, it’s going to be the right place. So, uh, definitely check that out.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Thank you for that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Um, before we end this episode, uh, I want to give you the chance to, you know, do you have any other, uh, you know, kind of last [00:41:00] words or anything that you might want to share with the audience? Um, you know, whether it’s, you know, families who are dealing with a loved one who might be out on the street or someone who is.

is experiencing homelessness themselves. Uh, any, any last minute, uh, kind of tips or advice or anything like that, that you might be able to, uh, share with the audience.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Okay, um, this is a really great question, and honestly, um, we get so many calls daily requesting help. And even if we aren’t the right, um, resource or person to help that individual or veteran, we find them that resource. And so, um, I always just really, um, be a listener and be, and be there for, for our veterans because so many of them feel still that they aren’t being heard and that their needs aren’t being met.

um, met while they are receiving services at, even from the VA, even from us sometimes, [00:42:00] I always want to think of what’s best for our veterans. So, um, I even have created, um, for veterans leaving our, um, our program, they receive a welcome home kit that kind of helps them, again, give them that leg up so that when they enter into their apartment, they aren’t worried about, you know, Oh, okay.

So now that I have all this, you know, I, I’m, I’m having, um, steady income. I have these bills. I have all of this. Um, we want to, again, make sure that they don’t feel overwhelmed starting on this new step in life. And so we give them this. This kit that includes kitchen appliances, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, anything that you really need for your first apartment, we try to provide that so it can help supplement their costs and be able to afford and maintain and stay there.

Because many of our [00:43:00] veterans, when, when they have left our program and they move into an apartment, most of it’s not furnished or it’s not. And so they’re like, okay, I’m in this great place, but I got nothing to do with it. So then they go back to the soup or they go back to their other shelters or they invite their buddies.

Oh, come see my new place. And all these other factors could lead them back onto the streets. And we don’t want that. Our goal here is to end homelessness and we really, um, want to support our veterans and make them self sufficient. That’s our goal.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Excellent. And so definitely, uh, like you said, uh, even if This isn’t 100 percent the right resource for, uh, somebody, you guys will help find what that right resource is and get people, uh, you know, pointed in the right direction, at least, um, and for the people who are Leaving [00:44:00] the, uh, the house and graduating, like you said, um, they, they get what they need to have that stable base, uh, to, to work from and, and get their feet on, on solid ground and, and help.

Um, you know, start their lives in, in a, in a great way. So, so that’s awesome that you guys have that. Um, I know none of this can be, uh, none of this is going to be cheap and, uh, it’s, um, it can’t be done without. financial resources. So obviously there’s a need for donations, probably maybe even some volunteers and things like that.

Where can people go to make a donation or, or help, uh, support the organization?

Rachel Masch-Perez: Perfect. So they can actually, so I actually manage all of our donations and volunteers. And so if you wanted to share my phone number and email, they [00:45:00] can reach out to me and they can ask, you know, well, what can I give for a veteran? Cause often people think, Oh, veterans need suits. They need clothing, but really they need more practical things like water bottles.

Um, Uh, laundry baskets. Things that they can use while they’re here, but still use when they leave. And so, um, and then also, they can donate by going to our website at, um, www. manahouseaz. org. They, we have a donation link in which you can donate either monthly or one time and, um, Just anything helps and you can even dedicate the, uh, the, the donation to, to one of our veterans or even to our program so that we can receive that and anything that we do use, we, we [00:46:00] pay and get things for the veterans.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Excellent. So, uh, I will put that in the show notes with the rest of the information. So, uh, anyone who, uh, wants to donate, we’ll, we’ll put that out there for you. Um, before we wrap up, uh, I always like to end episodes with a little bit of humor. Uh, put a smile on people’s faces. Um, you know, even if That smile is, uh, because they’re laughing at me because the joke that I tell is so corny and it’s not that funny, but they’re just laughing at me.

That’s fine. I don’t really care. You can laugh at me. It’s all good. Um, so, um, you know, sometimes the, the episodes, the topics are a little bit heavy for some folks. And, um,

Rachel Masch-Perez: I understand.

Scott DeLuzio: someone’s face and that’s, that’s a great thing. So if you can just indulge me in this joke and, uh, you know, Perhaps fake a laugh at the end of it’s not that funny.

Uh, I’ll tell the joke here. So, so a young boy enters into a barber shop [00:47:00] and the barber whispers to his customer, this kid is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch, I’ll prove it to you. So the barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, and then calls the boy over and asks, which one do you want, son?

And the boy takes the quarters. and leaves. And so the barber goes, what did I tell you? The kid never learns. And so later the customer leaves and sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream shop and he says, Hey kid, uh, can I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?

And the boy licked his ice cream cone and said, because the day I talked to take the dollar bill, the game’s over.

Rachel Masch-Perez: okay, I like that, he’s smarter than, than the barbershop.

Scott DeLuzio: seems like he’s smarter than the barber. Yeah. So, um, anyways, um, thank you again for, uh, not only taking the [00:48:00] time to come on the show, but for all the work that you guys are doing, uh, with the man of house and, and helping to, uh, you know, reduce that. Homeless veteran population, um, in our area. And, um, you know, hopefully, uh, this will inspire other people.

Um, cause you know, people listen to this all over the country and hopefully this will inspire people to, uh, maybe do the same in their area. So thank you so much for, for what you’re doing.

Rachel Masch-Perez: Thank you so much, Scott, for having me, and again, I just really love, um, being a part of people who support the veteran community, so thank you.

Scott DeLuzio: You bet.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to [00:49:00] podcasts.

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