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"It's hard to ask for help." Veterans Leadership Program provides Pittsburgh veterans with the resources they need | KD Sunday Spotlight

KD Sunday Spotlight: Veterans Leadership Program
KD Sunday Spotlight: Veterans Leadership Program 03:20

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Off of Smallman Street in the Strip District, you'll find the Veterans Leadership Program. It's a place where you'll hear conversation about military service and veterans will know they're around people who get it. 

Walter Chubeck Junior said he served in the Navy from 1983-1986.

"We acted as a hospital ship in Grenada, that's probably the one thing that gave me nightmares for a little over a year when I got out," said Chubeck when reflecting on his service.

However, when he got out the reality of civilian life hit him hard. 

"When COVID hit, I had lost my job, so I couldn't work. I was way behind on my rent," said Chubeck. "I went homeless."

At his lowest point, Chubeck said he turned to the Veterans Leadership Program. Chubeck told us when he was really desperate, they were right there.

V.L.P. connected him with housing help. Through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, V.L.P. provided Chubeck with rental, furniture, moving costs, and food assistance.  

Ben Stahl is the non-profit's C.E.O. He said he served in the Navy too, for ten years.

"Our mission statement at V.L.P is empowering veterans to navigate the transitions of life," Stahl said. 

Now his focus is helping his brothers and sisters in arms. It's V.L.P's mission too, since 1982 and it stretches 30 counties throughout western and central Pennsylvania.

"We are a housing first organization, and it's very intentional because you need somewhere to call your own and we're very happy we're able to help veterans gain that for themselves," said Stahl.

In addition to assisting with housing, the non-profit has programs helping former service members with employment, wellness, and more. It's changed the lives of more than 7,400 vets in our area, just in 2023.

"Most veterans, myself included, most of the time they need someone reaching out to them because we're military, independent, we're used to doing for ourselves. It's hard for them to ask for help," said Chubeck.

It's help from serving in uniform to finding stability in civilian life. This non-profit is empowering our military veterans, driven by those who understand.

"Well V.L.P. will put them in touch with more brothers and sisters, and most of these guys here are vets," said Chubeck.

The Veterans Leadership Program is funded through donations and grants from the Veteran's Administration. The non-profit is moving to Braddock in the first quarter of 2025, but the groundbreaking will be on June 14th at 10 a.m. at 1025 Braddock Avenue.

If you want to get involved with V.L.P. click here.

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