Covering the issue of veteran homelessness brings about a sad reality that this is a battle that will always be fought. Our heroes risk their lives and well-being by fighting for our freedom overseas, only to come home and struggle not only with civilian life, but the haunting reminiscence of the past – PTSD drug and alcohol abuse, or long-lasting brain injuries. But there is help, and this organization is in it for the long-run, as told by the Charlotte Observer:
Ivory Smith stood in his kitchen unpacking a box of groceries when he turned at the sound of Andy Guerra snapping his fingers.
"Can opener," Guerra said, pointing at Smith, whose almost barren cupboards had begun to fill. "You don't have one, do you?"
Smith smiled as he took aim with a verbal jab.
"So you brought over a bunch of canned stuff but no can opener?" he said. "Man, that's like giving a soldier a rifle without giving him bullets."
Both men laughed, and Guerra promised to drop one off later that day. For Smith, an Army veteran, the lapse rated as less than minor, considering that a week earlier he had been homeless.
The swift change in his fortunes occurred with the help of Guerra, who oversees an innovative program for the nonprofit Family Endeavors that has fortified San Antonio's campaign to house its population of homeless veterans.
Guerra and the three members of his so-called navigator team combine the roles of outreach specialist, peer mentor and case manager. True to their title, the navigators seek to guide veterans living on the streets or in shelters into a place of their own, and then, over time, toward self-reliance.
The approach treats housing as the start of their reintegration rather than the endpoint. The navigators assist veterans in pursuing a new future by connecting them to drug and alcohol treatment, mental health counseling, medical care, job training and other supportive services.
"Once you get them housed, the hard work really starts," Guerra, a former longtime emergency medical worker who spent five years in the Army Reserve, told the San Antonio Express-News. "A lot of these guys have addiction problems or mental health issues, some have criminal backgrounds. They don't trust the social services system. So we walk with them and make sure they know someone has their back."
This is not the end-all be all of veteran homelessness, but it is a start. As Robert Gressett puts it, "At least now there's hope," he said. Then he stood up and walked into his home.
Healing Heroes Network (HHN) has been providing financial assistance to our veterans since 2008. As a non-profit organization, HHN's primary focus is to provide the means for wounded warriors to get the treatment and therapies they deserve and need.
Along with sweepstakes advertised at Hero Giveaway, HHN solely relies on the graciousness of their followers on Facebook through donations, merchandise, and entries to HG's giveaways.
Thanks for your continued support for our troops. For more information, and to donate to the cause, click the link below!
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