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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, Inc.'s mission is to empower Veterans navigating the transitions of life.

Results: Housing Programs Job Search Assistance Veterans Information Resource Case Management Services Referral Services

Target demographics: Provide housing, career development, supportive services, and wellness programming eligible local Veterans, service members, and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: Serve over 6,500 Veterans, Service Members, and their families.

Geographic areas served: 30 counties in Central and Western Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio

Programs: Nine housing programs ranging from emergency shelter, bridge housing, rapid rehousing, to permanent housing; two employment programs to assist Veterans who are un/underemployed with employment opportunities; and four supportive service programs that provide emergency financial assistance, benefits assistance, a Veteran caregivers program, and a wellness program that assists Veterans in combating substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress.

Community Stories

113 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Deb B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When Allegheny County’s Veterans Court was developed over a dozen years ago to serve at risk justice involved veterans, Veterans Leadership Program volunteered to be an invaluable partner to the Court and serve as a much needed safety net for our veterans. Regardless of a veteran’s difficulties or struggles, VLP has been a continuous and valued presence, ensuring no veteran is left unsupported on the path to recovery and success. VLP’s participation in working with the Court’s veterans is a wide ranging blanket of assistance—from developing and implementing our veterans peer mentoring program, to housing assistance, transportation assistance, and so many other services and supports too numerous to mention. But beyond even their substantial court assistance, the amazing people of VLP are instrumental in cultivating and sharing a community of caring and support for all veterans. Our area is so much richer due to VLP’s leadership by example, and their unique ability to bring people together to volunteer, assist, and work for the betterment of our veteran community. I could not commend them enough for the good work they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of volunteering for several Veterans Leadership Program events. The events are always organized and their staff is always very appreciative of all volunteers. I enjoy getting to know the veterans they service and how VLP impacts them. Looking forward to volunteering for future events.

Aimee B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is always an honor to volunteer for events organized by the Veterans Leadership Program. The events have always been organized, enjoyable, and provided an opportunity for me to give back to veterans in need. In addition, the staff made me feel valued and appreciated when donating my time. Definitely looking forward to my next opportunity to volunteer with VLP.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It’s always an honor to volunteer for Veterans Leadership Program. The staff and veterans that they serve are genuinely appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to commit time to this exceptional organization.

Karen M.23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

These guys help all! During the pandemic they handed out good!! They are the best! They work with all vets! I have referred some inmates to them, they pulled through!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ms. Kristal is AMAZING. She has such a warm and caring heart!!! This is a great program.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been collaborating with VLP of Western PA for over 5 years to help the veterans I work with. I cant say enough about this great organization. They help my veteran population gain employment, housing, and state ID's. If I have a veteran come in, I will not hesitate to send him/her to the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. A special shout out to Kristal Bartley who has done such a fabulous job in communicating in what VLP has to offer. She is truly an amazing person and you can tell she cares about the veteran population.

kristalbartley

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I really enjoy working for VLP. I once referred clients to this organization who were recently incarcerated. During covid, I found myself in need of support. I was so thankful for the support i received from VLP during my time of need. It was an honor to be hired on full time, so that i can now work directly with veterans and have compassion, because I was once in their shoes.. I have celebrated my anniversary at the best place to work! I enjoy out reach events where VLP can connect with the community. VLP truly serves those who have served, no matter when, no matter how, no matter where.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

VLP has done a food share every month since the Pandemic started. It has helped so many families keep food on the table each month through these tough times!

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's the fall of 2019 and I am homeless and living in the woods 20 miles south of Pittsburgh. A friend recommends I call the veterans leadership program in downtown Pittsburgh. I tell him that's 20 miles away how are they going to help me. Long story short the veterans leadership program helps me find a apartment a half a mile from my campsite in my hometown of Elizabeth pays for my first 3 months rent gets me furniture household items and food and sets me up in my own place. How wonderful was that I got a job and I was eternally grateful to the veterans leadership program. Then the pandemic hits I have no job and am in jeopardy of losing my new residence. Fortunately I qualify for unemployment and that carries me through to the time it was to renew my lease. To my surprise my apartment complex was not renewing my lease because they were going to renovate the apartment I lived in. Here I was in the same spot I was a year before with no place to live. Low and behold the veterans leadership program come shining through to my rescue. With the small amount I was getting from unemployment the vlp carried me through the pandemic helping me with my rent my utilities food and even help me get another job. This is the most amazing organization known to man as far as I'm concerned. Without one iota of a doubt I would either be six foot under or homeless but today I am in my own single family home with two beautiful kitties to keep me company and all thanks to the people at the veterans leadership program of Pittsburgh!

Thank you VLP! THANK YOU FOR NOT LETTING ME BECOME JUST ANOTHER STATISTIC!

Daniel L. Parker,

United States Air
Force Veteran

1 bjarrett28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a volunteer is extremely gratifying with VLP. Knowing your efforts are going directly toward helping veterans in need makes it an easy decision to help in any way you can!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization! The best VSO in the state hands down!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was homeless living in the streets of Pittsburgh pa. Then I was referred to the Veterans Leadership Program and within a month had a place to live and work. Truly a life saving program..thank you so much....Frank.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was suicidal when I was referred to VLP. My daughter abandoned me in a parking lot with my dog. I was homeless and I had to give up my best friend. I felt as though I had nothing left so why live. My daughter has not spoken to me since.

In the past seven months I have been with the Veterans Leadership Program I no longer want to die. I feel my case worker saved my life. I am moving to Florida tomorrow to be with my brother and his family. I have a new apartment in a senior loving complex. I have new furniture and I am leaving my past behind. I have a rescue dog. I am going to go back to school to be a pastor because I know my life is not over yet and I have more to give. The people at VLP gave me back my life with encouragement and kindness. I will be forever grateful.

Chantelle S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

They got me a job within a couple weeks! I am very happy with my experience.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have referred veterans I know personally to VLP and everyone has been fantastic from the first person answering the phone to the last person assisting with job placement. Great organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I reached out to the Veterans Leadership Program I was in crisis. I was separated from my husband and was terminated from my career position. I was in need of a helping hand. I was active in the program and attended events they held. The Covid 19 pandemic really caused a a barrier to finding suitable employment. The employment assistance and support I received was outstanding. The organization is a huge help to veterans in need.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went from homeless to housed with a full-time job within four months of participating in this program. Kept me afloat through the covid crisis when I was laid off with a special extension to help me continue paying rent, as well as emergency food services for several months. Also got furniture, food, a laptop, and several other amenities as a direct result of participation in the program. I can say I would literally have none of these things without Josh, Timothy, Nazeer, Melissa, Jennifer, Drew and the rest of the amazing staff at VLP. If you're a struggling veteran and you're not utilizing their services, you should be. The V.A. didn't commit to my welfare as much as they did. Thanks, everyone!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Director of Veteran Affairs for Cambria County. As such I work with thousands of veterans in different stages of life. Whenever I come across a veteran in a housing crisis, or facing shutoff of services, I feel 100% comfortable assisting the veteran with an application for assistance through the Veteran's Leadership Program. This agency is knowledgeable and well versed in benefits for veterans facing these sorts of issues, they are also connected with several other community resources. Even when a veteran does not fit into the guidelines that may be in place for the specific grants that the VLP have been awarded and are working, they are never left wanting an answer. This agency helps thousands of veterans every year who are struggling, and they always provide a helping hand.

Chris T.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered twice with VLP, if I had the time I would do it more often. The first time I volunteered was for a much needed food bank for Veterans during the start of the COVID shutdowns. I thought the event was well organized, run, and they had a lot of food to give out. Unfortunately the food ran out before everybody received something. Obviously not the fault of VLP, just a sad fact. I personally went to each car and told them the bad news, and I have to admit I was a bit heartbroken when I saw their faces. More donations were definitely required, but full thanks to all that did donate!

The second time I volunteered was to assist with a virtual career fair where VLP provided professional attire and a professional head shot for LinkedIn and the career fair. The amount of donated clothing was more than enough for the Veterans that attended and the photos looked great. VLP also provided a computer lab for the Veterans to log on for the virtual job fair with people to help them navigate the computer / job fair, and to provide helpful advice and assistance. Many of the Veterans that attended did not have access to internet at home, and some were even homeless. No Veteran who stood up and served their country honorably should be homeless, period.

On both occasions I was impressed by the compassion and professionalism shown by all of the VLP staff. They were all engaged and passionate about what they do. We need more people like them. I know as a Veteran the "outside" world is not so kind to Veteran job-seekers, so organizations like VLP are serving a greater good.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have a family member who has greatly benefited from services offered through VLP. We are lucky to have this nonprofit in our area for veterans.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been laid off from work because of the pandemic for almost 3 months and have not yet received an unemployment check because of issues that need to be dealt with and I got hooked up with this program and I am so thankful and so very very lucky that I am receiving help from this organization who is doing a outstanding professional jobs for veterans I am very lucky to have the three people who are helping me at this time they are so professional and I am so thankful for their time and their effort and everything that this agency has gave me . I truly don't know where I would be today if it wasn't for the help to the veterans leadership program the veterans office in Clearfield County and a few other County Assistance offices that I've been hooked up with to help me get through my hard time and I know deep down in my soul once things get squared away I will definitely do my part and do everything and anything I can to help another veteran who will be in the same situation as I am at a time in their live. Thank you so much. Friends leadership program !!! ✌⚘

Julie L.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family was going through a rough time in September 2019. We were homeless and no where to go. We have three small children and no working car. I stayed up all day and night trying to find my family help to find a home. I finally was put in contact with VLP. From the start they were very helpful and kind. After explaining our situation to the case manager they were able to put us into a hotel for a about a week and half. After i found a house, my case manager came with us to look at the house. After agreeing that this is the house we wanted, They paid for the first month rent and security deposit. With the troubles that my family was in I could not afford a Christmas for my kids. They told me to send a list of what the children would like for Christmas and i gave them a list with the top three things for each child. When my case manager came to our home to bring us the gift, she pulled up in her truck and gave us alot more gifts then I asked for. Over the months of us being on the program and even being off the program they continued to help us. If any Veteran and family needs help with is the organization that will help you and go above and beyond to help the family.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

VLP has responded quickly to each & every veteran referral given AND then followed up with me to advise that they were, indeed, assisting. That type of thoughtfulness is growing more rare & is so appreciated!

Board Member

Rating: 5

An amazing Veterans Service Organization that goes above and beyond to accomplish their mission of empowering Veterans and their families.

Deb K.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

It has been a pleasure and God send to have a program dedicated to female veterans. It has been informative and fun to get to know other female vets. I would not have met them otherwise.

Leona S.

Client Served

Rating: 1

The Women Veterans Leadership coordinator is excellent. She is bringing all the women veterans on a regular basis. I'm meeting new women and making new friends thru her effort. It's a great program

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My experience with VLP is as one of their community partners; specifically I am a landlord who works with VLP to house veterans via their SSVF and GPD programs. I am impressed by their professionalism, their efficiency, their dedication, and the care and compassion they extend not only to their veteran clients but to their community partners as well. It is always a joy to work with VLP!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with the Vlp has been life saving because of the employee who assisted me with getting help when I most needed it. Danielle was compassionate, considerate and Assertive. She helped save my family and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a Navy veteran who after being homeless and on top of that I also identify as a transgender woman, many places as well as Family and friends couldn't/wouldn't or didn't understand my PTSD,, Depression ,yet the Veterans Leadership Program DIDN'T HESITATE to extend their hand of help to a fellow Military Veteran no matter how,what all that I was and am a MILITARY VETERAN IN NEED ....Thank you from the bottom of my heart it feels good to know that THERE ARE OTHERS THAT HAVE MY
SIX!!
SINCERELY JAYME LYNN McIntyre...USNavy vet proud

1 Ginger K.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve met quite a few of these amazing women involved and they are doing fantastic things for the community. We are lucky to have them.

Martin G.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This program helped my brother get through some difficult times after he got back. It brings together individuals so they can share their stories and help others who have been through some of the hardest times of their lives. This program has helped saved lives and it will continue to do so, because sometimes even the toughest people need a little help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VLP is a wonderful organization that helps so many of our local veterans. I have been fortunate enough to participate in several of their fundraisers and each of them have been a wonderful community event that have led to success in fundraising and awareness.

Daniel B.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

The only thing better about the mission is the people who work at VLP. Toshua and Melissa are the best!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I see veterans live's being changed everyday through the help they receive at VLP.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a recipient of the good works of the Veterans leadership program for several years, the program has helped me in many ways and have made my life so much better! without them I know my life would be extremely hard. Any Veteran that is in search of a professional and caring group of people then the Veterans leadership program is for you.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great organization with a compassionate staff serving our local veterans

Client Served

Rating: 5

I hit rock bottom in my life. However, with the help of VLP of Pittsburgh I was able to get back on my feet and continue to move forward! They offer excellent programs and the staff was patient and welcoming.

Bob A.3

Donor

Rating: 5

i am a vet who wants to help other vets. this organization goes above and beyond helping our vets. proud to be part od this organization in some small way.

Skalman

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hands down, the most effective VSO in Western Pennsylvania!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We hosted a lift-athon in partnership with VLP. They are great people and Dan Blevins did an awesome job of organizing every detail that helped raise over $11,000 for homeless veterans in this area. This is a great organization that always has our veterans best interest at heart.

Adam C.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have not needed their services. I have been involved with volunteering on several different occasions. Their staff is always courteous and knowledgeable. Their organization has given me the opportunity to give back to the Veteran community. The work they do to assist veterans is outstanding. It is a honor to know such people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with this program through the Crucible as well as the Homeless Heroes Stocking Project, which provided supply stockings to over 1000 homeless veterans in the western PA area. I have seen firsthand the amazing impact this organization has had in our community

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Veterans Leadership Program gives homeless veterans a way forward in life; a path to self-sufficiency. The work they do in the community is literally life changing and life saving.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

VLP has helped our local veterans in so many ways. It is an immeasurably valuable program.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about this program. The staff I've encountered working with veterans are dedicated, knowledgeable and readily accessible. Their help in connecting veterans with affordable housing and employment programs are second to none. If you don't know where to turn this is a good place to start with supportive services provided that can help or connect you with someone that can. Many kudos to VLP for doing things right.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Had the opportunity and pleasure to participate in one of their events this summer, 335-Ride to Dc for veterans programs. The event is reflection of a well run team of people, one of best tour events we've seen all year long on Great Allegheny Passage. Their plans and turnout were exceptional. Professionally they worked in concert with locals all along the route. The event raised tens of thousands of dollars and me, like others are already committed to repeat and participate again in 2018. Great people doing fantastic things!

Josh L.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

This program has been instrumental in assisting our veterans in finding appropriate housing options and employment. Their assistance in helping veterans maintain their housing and employment post discharge has been invaluable

Donor

Rating: 5

Some of the greatest men I have ever met. The VLP is blazing the trail with how they support our greatest heroes.
I am proud to know them.
Please contact Staff Sargent Daniel Blevins and lend a hand.
They are patriots and heroes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

VLP has helped me in ways no other organization has. The staff are respectful and eager to help when your down. Thanks again VLP.

Client Served

Rating: 5

VLP is an amazing organization that helps out many Veterans. Thank you to all the Johnstown Staff for all that you do. I wouldnt be in the place I am today without the help of all of you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that supports veterans in need.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing Organization that truly is set out to help our Brothers and Sisters.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been apart of many organizations that help Veterans. VETERANS Leadership Program is by far the best local organizations that helps my fellow Veterans. VLP took the time to help my wife and gave her the support she needed to help me. If your a Veteran that needs help find away to get hold of VLP. If your a doner or volunteer your generosity will definitely be used wisely here at VLP.

I'm a Veteran I give VLP 10 stars. Thank you to all the members at VLP. John Conway

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Veterans Leadership Program (VLP) almost since its inception in 1982. I served on the board for 22 years and was board chair five of those years. Over this time I have witnessed how the staff has helped literally thousands of veterans and their families in so many ways from finding employment, obtaining necessary medical treatment, finding housing and offering support in big and small ways. The testimonials we have on record speak volumes to this organization's work. It is so easy to write about VLP as I have witnessed their great work over these many years. I am currently serving as the Veteran Mentor Program Coordinator where we are seeking Veteran Mentors who can work with Veteran Court Participants. Mentors are trained volunteers who have served in the US Military and who work with a specific Veteran as he or she progresses through their involvement with the court. Mentors serve as liaison, an advocate and guide to fellow veterans as they work to address issues related to their criminal case. I mention this program as it is one example of how VLP is helping Veterans. I truly feel that the Veterans Leadership Program should be selected as a Great Nonprofit.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a navy veteran. I recently lost my job with alcoa. One benefit was to further my education. I chose cdl school. I graduated and recieved my cdl. Ive submitted alot of resumes to no avail. I need to stay local at this time. I had no where to turn to. My rent wss due. The veterans leadership program stepped up to help me. Helped me rent and redid my resume. Now i have some offers . i would of been another homeless vet if it wasnt for the vlp program. Thank you staff. Particuliarly. Ken, Katie, n Dan. Truly u r special people. To do what you do. I salute you.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The VLP program is great. It was a major help and blessing to me. I don't know what I would have done without it. I recommend this program to any veteran who needs help. The program has many ways to help veterans, including: rent, moving expenses, furniture, jobs, vision, eye glasses, health, and much more.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing organization that assists local Veterans, Service Members, and their families with essential housing, employment, and other supportive services.

3

Client Served

Rating: 2

I filled out a TON of paperwork, and was told by one employee there that I'd receive help within the next week in paying my past due rent so I didn't get evicted. So I relayed that to my landlord. A week later, another employee called me, and said she's be handling my case. She told me I wouldn't be receiving any help. She told me to go apply for Section 8. So I looked like a liar to my landlord and applying for Section 8 wasn't going to stop me from getting evicted. I don't know if they just don't have the resources to help people or they got new staff or what. When I lost my job many people recommended I go to VLP for help. I'm a female vet with kids and this was the first time I'd ever needed help for anything. I have a bachelors degree and have no alcohol or drug history. I've always held a job and had never been in trouble. I was just in a temporary rough patch. I finally had worked up the courage to go ask for help because I didn't have any other options and they weren't very nice. The lady said if they helped me "I'd just end up in the same situation again." Thankfully, I'm now back on my feet and employed at a Fortune 500 company, no thanks to them.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

They do not really help. I've had to fend for myself. One of the employment specialists decided a pizza delivery driver was the best job for a disabled veteran that suffers ptsd and uses assistive devices to walk. Never mind that it was her fathers pizza shop. When looking for accessible housing, no one helped me. I was left to search on my own, never finding a place or being told no for places I was interested in. Right now, I'm in a Project Journey apartment that I'm being kicked out of. I was just told I have to be out next week, via text message. Here comes one more homeless vet, illegally evicted. Also, they feel free to walk in whenever they want and won't even tell you they were there, but get upset when you tell them you noticed someone was in the apartment. All of my calls go unreturned when I try to talk to someone there. I've left tons of voicemails. This same person is very condescending and negative. She lies about things and always brushes me off. I can't take it anymore. Things start to go good then she always knows how to ruin my day.
When I did complain before, they called me in and chewed me out.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The words Thank you hardly seem enough. But they are coming from my heart. A heart uplifted by your kindness. With all our love and thanks, Especially to Ken Haynes and Will Steele.
Thank you so much,
James and Patricia

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is H.A . I am grateful and appreciative of the VLP. This program has given me hope for myself and survival from Mar 2013- present. Last year I lived in an abandoned house. After the lady I stayed with put me out because general assistance welfare checks were no longer issued. No adults could receive the 200$ a month, so with me having no income I was put out. I had no place to go because I am originally from North Carolina. I survived the wind and cold in the holy father and holy sons name I slowly fell into a deep depression. In March 2013 someone told me about VLP. I called and spoke to your diligent worker Dan. Dan told me to stay strong and get into the office ASAP. I never knew I could feel so cared about. He set me up with resolved for my mental health problems. Dan introduced me to Karen that day. She surely did have a caring attitude. The way she treated me was outstanding. I met Serena in May 2013 and she has upheld the great standards of excellence. Serena has kept me on track. This is why I am grateful to you, the program and your staff. I am glad I served 7 ½ years in the Army Reserves. And one year of being in my apartment, I would like to thank Dan, Karen and Serena.

Thanks so much VLP!!
H.A

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ms Holt.
As a Veteran sometimes its really hard to ask for assistance. You have shown me that you generally care for us Veterans and make it easier to ask. My water was threaten to be shut off and because of you and you advocating on my behalf, I was able to continue to have water. You have always taken care of me for the holidays with food and items. Without you, I don’t know where it would be.

Thank you,
Niles

Client Served

Rating: 5

To Ken and the VLP Staff,
Thank you so much for the help and support. It was a lifesaver. I would otherwise be homeless. It sincerely was amazing to not feel alone and the VLP staff really came through for me.

Sincerely
Augelo M.
USMC / OIF Combat Veteran.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear VLP,

I am Alan Smith, one of the many veterans who participate in your program and am under the guidance of Jack Kudrav.
I would very much like to take a moment and thank each-and-every one of you for the time that you spend with us to get our lives restarted and/or restructured. For me, it is extremely valuable to share and learn about the many different yet similar experiences that my fellow veterans live with on a daily basis during our meetings.
When I first started with your program, it appeared as if things in my life were getting more into focus and things that were out of reach were getting closer to grasp. That was until recently when a situation occurred that looked like a derailment could be occurring. Words of wisdom are all it takes to put things back into perspective. That is what the VLP does for their clients on a daily occurrence.
I would also like to take a moment to extend my gratitude and make note that you have an exceptional member on your staff. His name is Jack Kudrav. Jack is a kind, caring, and sympathetic individual who always has a story of enlightenment when it is need the most. He will help you to be able to stand alone on your own two feet and cheer you on as you walk away gracefully.
So again, I extend my appreciation to the VLP and its staff. “Job Well Done,” “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”
Sincerely,

Alan Smith