Fostering Independence and Self-Sufficiency for Veterans
Fostering Independence and Self-Sufficiency for Veterans Years ago, after the service, I was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and found myself in the middle of the housing crisis and soon, without a home. My family and I held on for as long as we could, and my sons managed to finish high school before being displaced. I ended up moving back to Rochester, where I grew up, and found myself at the mercy of extended family and friends and wasn’t sure what to do next. I was one of the lucky ones. Yes, you read that right.
Even though I was in dire financial straits, I was blessed by those around me and didn’t have the mental health, substance abuse or lack of documentation that other Veterans have preventing them from finding housing. After asking around, someone suggested I contact East House. For those who do not know, East House partners with Providence Housing and offers a program that helps Veterans, who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, find permanent affordable housing and get “back on track.” Thanks to a special grant from the Veterans Permanent Housing Program through HUD that provides funding for the program, they helped me find an apartment. Grateful, I was able to go back to school to get the training needed for my current job.
I had a mission to help other Veterans because of the help I was provided. I currently work as a Mentoring Coordinator of the Battle Buddy program at the Veterans Outreach Center (VOC). The VOC is a one-stop shop that offers whatever a Vet needs to be self-sufficient….alcohol or substance abuse counseling, tax consulting, lawyer counseling, help attaining documentation, housing, etc. I enjoy being a “Battle Buddy”—someone who links Veterans to other Veterans. The Battle Buddy program has more of a social and workout component to help Veterans succeed. I am also a board member for Providence Housing and am working to make sure there is a voice on the board to help provide more affordable housing options for Veterans.
~ Ronald Hughes, 2017 Board Member, Providence Housing Development Corporation