“Welcome Home” reads the sign in John’s new home. It was made for him by a group of elementary school students, one of the several groups that have helped John make the transition from thirteen years of homelessness to home.
Like around 12% of all people who experience homelessness, John is a veteran. Through programs like the Veteran’s Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) program, the federal government has set a goal to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. John is a beneficiary of this program.
Through VASH, a veteran receives a Section 8 voucher through the local housing authority, which can be used at a variety of rental properties.
But making a house a home takes more than just keys to an apartment. Through the VA, John receives support from a case manager, who visits with John in his new home and supports him in achieving his goals.
The new organization “Charlotte Bridge Home” has partnered with the Urban Ministry Center to provide welcome baskets to chronically homeless veterans moving into housing. A fellow veteran visited with John in his new home last week and brought a basket overflowing with touches of home: cleaning supplies, towels, and the kitchen basics.
VetNet with Time Warner Cable is donating use of their truck and staff members to help furnish John’s apartment. Here Ransel, who along with Phil, helped John pick up furniture from Crisis Assistance Ministry and move it into his new home.
And finally, a 4th grade classroom at Providence Springs Elementary school, with whom John shared his story the day he moved in, made John the “Welcome Home” sign and each student made him a card. After signing his lease, John sat down on the floor of his new living room and read through those cards. Then he took a nap in the safety and security of his own home.