USA Cares

Julia Hutt, Army Veteran

Julia Hutt’s 8-year career in the Army happened during one of the most pivotal times in women’s military history. She enlisted a little more than a year before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was among the first boots on the ground of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004. 

“You never knew when you were going to kick the bucket, you know, because there were mortar and rocket attacks all the time,” Julia said. “Good day was like 10, bad day was like, over 30.”

Julia describes her memories of Iraq as a “ghost” that followed her around long after she was back in the U.S. She was honorably discharged in 2008 and went on to start a family.

In 2012, Julia was in between jobs as a single mother of two. At the time, her disabled son required a caregiver that was provided by the state. Julia said she came home one day to discover the caregiver had stolen all her rent money. She had nothing for the upcoming month.

Jumping into action, Julia reached out to every organization she could think of.

“I had never thought about using any resources as a veteran,” Julia said. “Someone suggested it and I was at my wit’s end. I had no other choices really.”

Even then, however, Julia didn’t find an immediate solution.

“One after the other it was either I didn’t qualify, or I was outside of the area they supported, or they were out of money,” Julia said.

Then, she got to the bottom of the list and there was USA Cares. She filled out the form and sent in the proper documents to her case worker. She was five days away from eviction.

“I still remember the woman’s voice,” Julia said of her case worker. “She put me on hold to go talk to her supervisor. When she came back, she said they were going to give me the maximum amount of money, which was like $3,500 at the time.”

The amount was enough money to stop Julia’s eviction and cover the upcoming month’s rent so she could start her new job and receive her first paycheck.

“If I didn’t have the following month’s rent, I would have been in the same situation all over again,” Julia explained.

USA Cares’ assistance gave renewed hope to Julia. With her and her children safe in their home, she could focus on addressing the mental health issues that had lingered since she left the military.

Julia was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD from both Iraq and as a military sexual trauma victim. Until reaching out to the VA, Julia had been using alcohol to cope with her mental health issues. During the last eight years, she has tried a variety of therapies and has found several that work for her.

Today, Julia and her family are doing well. She recently celebrated her first year of home ownership and serves on the executive board of her local veterans club. She also teaches art classes, runs an online women’s veteran club, and has plans to start a mental health nonprofit with the hope of providing the support she once needed.

“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Julia said. “I came out on the other side.”