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Addictions & Homelessness
“I’ve been homeless about 7 times in 23 states.”
After serving in the Army and the Marines in the 1980s, Leroy found himself homeless. He also battled an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“I used to smoke crack cocaine and I used to run from crack cocaine, and I didn’t realize that transitioning from one state to another that it would still be there, but it was,” Leroy said. “Even at the Greyhound bus station when I got off the bus, it was there.”
Four decades later
It wasn’t until almost four decades later, when Leroy ended up in Indiana, that he found sobriety. He came to Indiana in December 2020 for cancer treatment. Since then, he has lived in HVAF’s transitional housing for two years and has lived in HVAF’s permanent housing since the beginning of this year.
“I like living at Veterans Villa because I’m not homeless anymore, and it’s a pleasant atmosphere to live,” Leroy said. “Not to mention, I’m in love with my apartment, I really am, because it’s mine.”
Leroy has also been able to form a close connection with his case manager, Sara. They both started at Veterans Villa earlier this year, as Leroy moved in and Sara began her role as case manager.
“I remember coming into the office and seeing him and I knew that I was going to work with him. I didn’t really know my way around anything, but I knew that I wanted to work with Leroy,” Sara said. “ Leroy just makes me happy, he’s always kind of cheerful and has jokes and says fun things and I see him almost every day, which really helps me come every day.”
As she was nervous taking on this new role, Sara said Leroy helped her get started and built up her confidence as a case manager.
“I was nervous coming into this and I really didn’t know what to expect,” Sara said. “And I think he helped me dive right in and do things and it built up my confidence in a way that was kind of perfect for the both of us.”
At Vets Villa, the case managers strive to make it a community for all the veterans who live there. Sara said they do weekly events, and Leroy’s favorite is playing bingo. She also said his enthusiasm has encouraged more veterans to come and join in on the fun.
Next steps for Leroy include helping him get more involved in the community and continue to help him stay clean and self-sufficient.
“I’ve been clean three years on December 1,” Leroy said. “And I’m thankful that I’ve had this place to lean on because if I was not with HVAF, I really do believe I would be out there on the streets.”
You can help HVAF get veterans, like Leroy, off of the street and into a life of self-sufficiency!