Lannette H., 45, a Birmingham, Ala., native is used to keeping her head above water. She joined the Navy in 1989, unable to swim.
“I was chatting with recruiters and next thing I knew I was in the Navy and had to learn so much in a short period of time,” says Lannette.
She spent one year in Naples, Italy, in the position of postal clerk, but she left one year later when she became pregnant.
“I chose the role of postal clerk because I thought I would be selling stamps, but I worked in the warehouse,” says Lannette. “It was a male-dominated role and the guys did not want to work with me, but I lifted boxes and drove a 2 ½ ton stick shift truck so I held my own.”
In 1991, she gave birth to her first child. During that time, she realized she had to provide for herself which is something she had not done in the past. She had become accustomed to others taking care of her and had become dependent on family and friends.
In 2005, she became homeless when she was unable to take care of herself. She was going through a second divorce and suffering from depression.
She stayed in and out of homeless shelters and also stayed at friends’ apartments.
In September 2015, she learned about HVAF housing and services and moved into the Moreau apartments.
She also attended the annual Stand Down hosted by HVAF.
“Seeing all of these veterans in one place brought me to my knees in tears. It was a very emotional experience seeing all of these organizations under one roof offering programs, services, and goods to homeless veterans and I was proud to be a veteran,” says Lannette.
At the Stand Down, Lannette received clothing, kitchen appliances, and made friends.
She would need all of these items and more. In November, Lannette moved into her own apartment.
“I was so scared to leave the comforts of HVAF and all the veterans who I had met there. My Case Manager, Alison Hughes, helped me tremendously in that she listened and didn’t judge me and I have told her some pretty terrible stuff about myself,” says Lannette.
Alison also took Lannette to a furniture store to help her pick out items to furnish her own apartment.
This month, Lannette is settled and comfortable in her own apartment. She is enrolled at Ivy Tech and will graduate with an Associate's Degree in May and is working part-time.