Multiple former employees report an abusive work environment at Reach Services including: rampant fraud, anger management issues among senior leadership, disregard for mental health concerns, lack of training, and wrongful terminations.
Several of these employees worked with Reach Veterans Services, a program designed to help veterans without housing find shelter and other support such as assistance with utilities, rent, transportation, food, and child care. Unfortunately, when the employees themselves needed help many stated that they were denied.
Sadly, many of these former employees are veterans themselves, and some had previously received services from Reach. A few admitted to having attempted suicide partly because of their treatment, and one man named Bill Whitman recently took his own life in the Reach Services parking lot.
A common allegation from a half dozen of these former employees is that they were hired because Reach was in desperate need of help. They were asked to perform technical job requirements for which they were not trained, then they were screamed at or fired by supervisors for minor infractions. Then several were threatened if they did not agree to write letters of resignation to prevent payment of unemployment.
Reach services was contacted twice by email with no response, and once by phone and was connected with Travis Phillips who stated, “We’re not going to take the phone call because we do not respond to misinformation.”
As previously reported one veteran stated that he was, “financially and psychologically ruined by Reach Veterans Services,” several stated that they believed Reach Services director Susie Thompson was trying to “break them,” and one claimed Thompson told her, “I will send you back to the hood.”
Employees also reported being asked to falsify documents including time cards. At one point the Reach Veterans Services program had only two employees while trying to care for 82 veterans and those employees were frequently denied the overtime pay required to care for their clients.
Allegations were also made that employees were told to make false claims on federal and local grant reports including a large grant received from the United Way of the Wabash Valley. Investigations are being made into these claims and follow up article will be written detailing the exact information regarding these accusations.
9 responses to “New details emerge about abusive treatment of employees at Reach Services.”
“…we do not respond to misinformation.” Translation: We have nothing defensible to say.
Speaking of grants, didn’t Reach receive a bucket of money from Vigo County to open a homeless shelter? I hope the County Council has been keeping tabs on how that money has been spent.
Absolutely…nothing defensible at all …I guess they think if they don’t respond people will just stop talking but it’s making them in my eyes look worse
I’m glad the truth is comin out …if one person lies on you…no big deal they just a hater …but a half of dozen …with similar stories that don’t even know each other …Terre Haute Veterans stand up we did not serve our country to come home and be manipulated and mistreated by an agency that preys and gets paid on the weaknesses of our most vulnerable veterans homeless and those that fight everyday to avoid homelessness…you can’t push Bill to suicide and think I’m going to be quiet …I’m speaking my truth …#metooveteran #justice for my brother….please bring light to the truth no matter what dirt comes to light …hold them quiet ones accountable
It’s so funny …the Program Manager of Veteran Services John Burk just contacted my employer and stated that I threatened him…it’s so hilarious because when I saw him in person I hugged him and let him know that I know he was first on the scene and witnessed carnage …see this is exactly what reach does when you try to speak up …reprisals and retaliation ….Reach again is targeting veterans for speaking their truth ..unfortunately it did not work …you will not silence me ….perfect example of Reach trying to break another Veteran with lies
Remember when you did ecstasy in the parking lot as a manager?
Deflect and make up all the lies you can.. I cannot be broken:
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this email as well as sending a certified letter to IDVA, InteCare, and Reach Services as my Confidential information was disclosed to my new employer directly on 6/23/2022 when he called the hospital administrator, George Zhang. George’s direct phone number is . John Burk identified himself as the current Program Director of Reach Veteran Services, and disclosed to him that I was a former employee, also a grant recipient, a thief, a drug abuser, as well as disclosing that I had been threatening him personally and he no longer feels safe coming to Clay County Hospital to receive medical care, which is far from the truth. I, up until Thursday, had no clue that there was even a problem between John and I.
I, like, everyone that has worked with Bill, am outraged that he committed suicide. I myself also attempted to commit suicide as i was under intense scrutiny and pressure driven and caused DIRECTLY by Susie Thompson.
When I take a look back and reflect on my tenure at Reach, I 100% can say that I was honest, hardworking, and the best at the paperwork, and I completed my job without argument or passing off the buck. While staff was turning over and over and over I carried the entire SSVF program on my shoulders by completing all outstanding paperwork, gathering supporting documentation and attempting to be a case manager in which I had no training to do. I received no formal training from SSVF or Susie and I had to learn and memorize the SSVF and IDVA manual verbatim and trying to teach incoming staff as well as keep up with my job duties, only be be cussed, berated, and denied overtime for doing the work that was not being done. Out of all of the SSVF sub-contractors, I was the only Program Manager involved at the case manager level, in the completion of the paperwork. I have experienced first hand and saw the hostility, manipulation, racism, favoritism, and toxicity that working at reach came with, but I still gave it all I could until I mentally couldn’t. Most board members know my name and of me, but none took the time to get to know me professionally and they heavily rely on what Susie tells them and take it all for face value, with no way for me to defend my good name.
Per Reach’s Employment Handbook that I signed as well as I ensured the entire Vet Services Staff, including John Burk:
This policy applies to all confidential information regarding staff members, consumers, and the business affairs of the agency. By agreeing to this policy, you are agreeing that you shall not use for yourself, nor disclose to others, during the term of your employment or any time thereafter, any confidential information belonging to the agency or relating to its consumers, staff, and volunteers. You further agree that all case records, case histories, or other files and materials concerning the agency, its employees, and its consumers shall belong to and remain the exclusive property of the agency.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act of 1996 requires agencies to protect the privacy and security of certain health information. Reach Services meets the established national standard for the protection of electronic Protected Health Information (PHI) and has established security standards for the transmission of Electronic Health Information (EHI). Reach Services has a HIPAA Compliance Officer. Incidents are reviewed monthly for possible breech of information. Employees are required to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all health information. Any employee found to violate the policies as outlined can and will face disciplinary action, potentially including dismissal.
The relationship between Reach Services Inc. and its consumers is one of the utmost confidences. Confidentiality is a rule we must observe rigidly. It means that we should never discuss with any acquaintance, friend, or relative the business affairs of Reach Services consumers or volunteers, whether the information seems important to us or not. Our consumers trust us not to reveal any of their business affairs to anyone. A violation of this policy could result in termination.
I am no longer under services, nor is there a current ROI in place for John Burk, the Program Director of Veteran Services to contact my current place of employment, there was no reason for him to call at all period, and disclose anything about me , however John Burk did, and that is a direct violation of my privacy and HIPPA law as being a recipient of Services, and a former employee of Reach Services.
I am formally asking that John Burk be terminated for the actions of violating my personal and professional privacy by calling my current employer in the capacity of Program Director. John Burk has written an absolutely false statement on me , sending it to Susie and the board of directors, on 10/6/2021, which is 6-7 weeks after I was forced out of the building and totally embarrassed by Susie in front of Bill Whitman, and Thomas Kirby as veteran we were serving on August 17, 2021. I have attached the letter that was given to a staff member here at the hospital, written by John as I called bullshit on the story that Bill resigned.
It’s so disheartening, disrespectful, and damaging to a person when you tarnish and defame their name without evidence and just cause. The very agency that helped me overcome homelessness is the very agency trying to send me back into homelessness, which is not conducive to the mission that you as an agency has made thousands of dollars on. Despite the defaming and destructive behavior that Executive Leadership has displayed, I am a Reach Survivor, and a true success story and I will continue to live my life on the side of right and continue to excel at everything I do, it truly sad and unfortunate I could not grow better with Reach.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, in regards to my allegations. I can be Reached directly @ (812) 391-5617. George Zhang, Ascension St,. Vincent Clay Hospital Administrator, can be reached at
I am calling for immediate action.
Melissa J. Gray
I feel how I feel and my experiences with Reach Veterans Services are mine …Reach again has violated policy as there is no current Release of Information and John Burk has contacted my employer as the Program Manager of Veteran services …I’m am no longer a client of Reach or SSVF ..so explain why he contacted my job …they want to break and silence me because they are 200 percent responsible for bills suicide ..and again this is a blatant attack on me for speaking my truth …reprisals and retaliation…they want me homeless
@Mz Carolyn stated:
Over the years I’ve been asked why I no longer support this organization. Here is a snippet to offer a bit of understanding.
Demands of falsifying documentation, endless lies to/about employees, lack of training for required responsibility of duties and/or tasks, poor treatment of individuals in need, preferential treatment for a “more desirable” individual in need over another in a deeper need, lack of concern for emergency situations, poor management (which is a massive understatement), horrendous working environment do to poor attitude and demeanor of management, abusive behavior and words from the visual head of the organization, an entire board of individuals who either lack the knowledge or lack concern for what goes on, hiring uneducated and inexperienced staff to complete jobs of a highly sensitive nature. Just to name a few.
There is no question in my mind that Bill was pushed to this by Susie and her actions. She used him up in the worst way and then shoved him aside as if he were trash. Him taking the actions he did speaks volumes… Him taking those actions at Reach Services SCREAMS for justice. Bill worked at the Bell building not the main office, he acted in the parking lot of the main office. JUST OUTSIDE OF Susie’s DOOR. I could not begin to express the man that Bill was. Pure, loving, ironically funny and extremely kind. He was driven to help those in need and aid in all he could through an organization that he originally believed in.
When I took the job working for Reach I was excited to be doing something to try and make a change. I was humbled by the number of people we saw and spoke to on a daily basis. And it WAS a daily basis that individuals needed help. Be it housing, food, resources, showers or assistance in getting jobs, etc. No organization can help them all, to be fair, but I think they could have helped more.
I won’t state all the illegal things that go on there, as that could/would implicate myself and others. Just know that Bill was NOT the exception to a bad situation… He was just the one to successfully follow through. 😞 He wasn’t alone in being pushed to far and to hard. The way employees are treated, the environment and the stress is why they are constantly in need of staff. Lots of people stayed and still stay because of a belief in the knowledge that “we can help some” and “we can make a change”. It’s core individual human value that allows them to stay the course. I was unable to stay the course and left.
At one point I was so greatful for Reach Services. That quickly changed. I was homeless and had applied for help through Reach Services many times and was always denied because I needed to do this that or the other. Finally, by the grace of god! We were accepted. We went to the meeting at their office where after telling them our story they had a separate meeting in the other room. When they came back, they told us the best news, we were allowed to move in that day and since we did not have all the money for rent and deposit they were letting us split it up!! Of course we all cried because this was a real life miracle!! Well, less than two weeks later as I was on my way to the office to pay my rent, I received a phone call from a lady saying they were so sorry but they made a mistake and we did not qualify and the lady that let us move in was fired! I tried to tell them I had the money for the rent because I had just gotten paid that day and it was my youngest daughters birthday. I was told not to come up there because no one was going to accept the money. She appologized so many times and multiple times told me it was in no way my fault it was 100% their fault. She said her lawyers had advised her that we needed to move out immediately before they lose their funding from the state. For the next 2 weeks I was calling them every single day letting them know whether I had found a place to go yet. I vwas so overwhelmed by all of this and didn’t understand what was going on. Every single time I asked why it was that we were not qualified all of a sudden I was told that didn’t matter, all that mattered at this point was we needed to leave. The last time I spoke to the lady she informed me that they were filing for an eviction that day. And I was told and I quote, ” We gave you and your family the chance to get out of the house without involving the courts. We have been more than patient with you. Now we are going to court and if you try to slander us in any way I can promise you that I am not scared for this to get ugly!” Up to this point I had always still been 100% respectful and nice to all of the workers I had talked to. I was shocked that she had gotten so mean out of no where. My boyfriend took the phone and told her we are trying and just needed a little more time. The lady proceeded to tell him she could make a couple phone calls on our behalf and put in a recommendation for us at any homeless shelter we chose! My friend told her he was disgusted with Reach Services and how they were treating us and told her he was going to talk to a lawyer about this because in no way was this legal. The lady laughed at him and said good luck! No lawyer in town will choose a homeless person like you over a highly respected business in the community like Reach! And then hung up on him!
The Emergency Eviction notice came a few days later. It stated that we refused to pay them rent! That was a lie and I had saved every single conversation from application til eviction from all of them! I had everything printed off and ready to show the judge, but their lawyer did not show up and even though we were in the courtroom 15 minutes early, the clerk did not see us I guess and we were counted as being late to court and them a failure to appear and the clerk ordered us out in 2 weeks and set the damages hearing for 3 months out. We were out of the house the day before the eviction notice had stated because we went to a local hotel. When it was finally time for the damages hearing I was ready for answers!! WHY! is all I needed to know! We were still in the hotel. We had been trying so hard but could not find anyone to rent to us with a pending eviction looming over us. I paid application fees to almost every single rental place in town! I had tried to talk to many many lawyers in town with no luck just as she had said. So I bring all the paperwork I still had and go to court. I give the whole folder to the clerk, she waits and waits and the lawyer did not show up again! The clerk came out and handed me the folder back and said that the lawyers for Reach had filed to dismiss the night before and it just hadn’t been seen yet and sorry for wasting our time and have a good day! I walked out of the courthouse and just felt the most god awful feeling in my stomach and I broke down and cried! I cried for the lady who was fired because of us, I cried for my kids, I cried for Reach Service and wondered what would make them just hurt people in such a horrible way?! It was only a few days later I came across an article praising Reach services on their fight to end homelessness in Vigo County! End it???? They caused mine!! For 6 months we had to stay in that hotel! Just to never get any closure on any of these evens. It still scares me today. I went through so much grief over them. Not only did we again become homeless but we were never given any answers and many people thought of course that I was lying and really just refused to pay them like Reach had said. I have only ever wanted answers. But I figured I would share my Reach Services story mainly because I have kept it in and never let this story go public because I have been scared of the retaliation it may cause my family and I!
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