When Gordon Rogers* met Clinic Staff Attorney Matthew Gaudin through an intake at Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation of Indiana (HVAF), Gordon was quite reticent to share his story. “Sometimes, HVAF clients don’t like to share a ton about their past,” Matt says. “Sometimes, they’re embarrassed if they’re homeless because of alcohol or drug use.” For Gordon, this was the case, and he was not eager to share his past mistakes.
As a veteran who served in the Navy during the Vietnam era, Gordon had seen more than his fair share of life's difficulties over the years. After his service ended, for a time, his life started to go off track. Due to substance abuse issues, Gordon lost his job. He started to rack up debt. Eventually, he lost his home.
But Gordon was a fighter. He decided to seek assistance and began working through HVAF’s various programs to help him get his life back on track. Once again, he was sober and employed. The massive amount of debt he had accumulated, however, still weighted him down. Soon, 25% of his wages were garnished. His poverty threatened to send him into another spiral. “With his wages as low as they were, that 25% was killing him and not allowing him to step out and even get his life back on track,” says Matt.
Therefore, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic helped Gordon to get out from under this debt. “We filed bankruptcy for him and stopped the garnishment," Matt says, "And now he’s well on his way.” The whole process took over a year, but thanks to removing this debt, Gordon is able to find affordable housing, and maintain his sobriety and employment. For Matt, the best moment came when the garnishment actually stopped. “He was so excited to get it done so he could move on with his life,” Matt says. “This debt was the last thing from his old life.”
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*Name has been changed