Russell Billingslea, a homeless veteran who has been staying at the Home For the Brave shelter in Bridgeport. Now, 53, he found he couldn’t get the assistance he needed to get a place of his own. Last month in desperation he approached Frank Recchia of News 12 Connecticut for help.
Anchor Tom Appleby and his News 12 crew, ever mindful of community needs throughout southwest Fairfield County, contacted Joe Kaliko at the Needs Clearing House for help!
“I met Russell about three weeks ago” Kaliko said. “He was frustrated and desperate, not being able to find the help he needed to get a place of his own.”
Russell Billingslea, pictured above at age 17 serving in the US Army. Contributed photo
Kaliko went on to say, “This man served his country and now needed our help. With Memorial Day next weekend, what better service to Russell to try to find him an apartment voucher to help with the rent; and for the Needs Clearing House to help pay for furniture for his new place. It’s payback time!”
Kaliko worked with Park City Housing Commissioner Dulce Nieves, and after much searching, found an open HUD voucher for Russell.
The voucher was presented today by US Senator Richard Blumenthal and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim at a ceremony in Bridgeport. Additionally, Commissioner Nieves was awarded a certificate of appreciation from the US Senate for her work with the homeless.