|Jim and Paul (From left to right)|
A single day's work can be transformative for any veteran, especially one fighting his way back from homelessness. Paul M., 52, knows this because he is a veteran and was once in need of not only a well-paying job but a safe place to live. He found both with the help of HVAF but he also gained a friend whom he has mentored. This is the story of how two veterans never imagined homelessness would bring them together and how they have found happiness again.
Paul’s journey out of homelessness was not easy. For 2 1/2 months the veteran of the Army reserves was homeless. Connections to family frayed. He was homeless, living in a shelter. Time after time, he vowed to do better but couldn't break the cycle. He entered HVAF housing in April 2014 with only $7 in his pocket.
First, his housing needs were met after he met with Case Manager Sarah Reed who helped him get back on his feet. Paul lived at the Keltner House and it was where he first met fellow veteran Jim R. Then, his job search began in earnest.
Both Paul and Jim received help with resume building as well as transportation to and from job fairs. Employment Specialist Robin Close helped both veterans improve their resumes and Paul was able to find a job at a landscaping company. The job proved to be too physically demanding so he began looking for another job.
“I’m a natural reactor,” says Paul and my HVAF case manager has helped me out a lot with that. I think about things and weigh the pros and cons now before I react. Sarah advised me that if I am going to quit I should have a plan first. I accepted a job with Sunshine Painting before I left my old job.”
Jim, 52, also an Army veteran, came to HVAF in May 2014, and was first housed at HVAF’s Manchester Apartments and then moved to the Keltner House. During this time of transition, Jim’s wife passed away. He was heartbroken.
Paul was there to help.
Both painters by trade, Paul helped Jim find employment at Sunshine Construction.
They both ride two buses each day for 1 ½ hours. They talk about music (both love 80’s rock) as well as reflect on good and bad times together.
“Paul’s friendship has helped me tremendously. I don’t know where I would be now if it wasn’t for him. He also has helped me overcome an anxiety to crowds. Before meeting Paul I would suffer from panic attacks. I have been off medication for 3 months and I am feeling great.
“HVAF as well as my friendship with Paul has helped me in many ways especially during my toughest times,” says Jim. “The staff at HVAF has been a tremendous force to my success.”
With help from HVAF, Paul and Jim overcame homelessness and are successfully employed. They also qualified for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and received assistance as they transitioned into their own home in Fountain Square. They also received a car which will cut down on travel time to and from work.
“I am forever thankful for HVAF and having met everyone who has challenged us and ultimately changed our lives for the better,” echoes Paul and Jim.