She was an older woman and mother of two, soaked to the skin, standing on a street corner in a heavy rain near 42nd Street in Indianapolis. She was on a mission. She had placed a call from her cell phone, ashamed of her situation but relentless for help.
Davina had spent five years in the Army. She once ordered parts and supplies for military vehicles and with an honorable discharge moved to Maryland to find work. She worked odd jobs for two decades.
She began using drugs in 2006.
Like many veterans, when Davina tried to transition back into life outside the military, she found so much had changed. In 2009, Davina started living on the streets.
Davina at HVAF
“I was angry and frustrated. Why hire a homeless lady? I thought. I did not even have a permanent address. I worried what others might think. I wondered if managers feared if they helped me, pretty soon I’d start bringing my homeless friends to beg for jobs, harass customers, and hang around the store,” adds Davina.
“I had three-thousand dollars in my savings account and within 2 weeks I had completely emptied the account because of addiction,” she says.
In 2011, after her Mom passed away, Davina moved to Indianapolis. It is when she became homeless. She slept at family or friends.
Davina’s aunt told her about a job fair for veterans at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds. She attended and learned more about the services and programs offered to homeless veterans. She began to receive help from several organizations including Partners in Housing who then referred her to HVAF.
Davina spent her days looking for employment and going to the library where she scoured the classifieds of every free newspaper she could find. Reading was a pleasant distraction that she says kept her mind off food and cold.
“HVAF saved my life,” says Davina.
Jobless and penniless, Davina, 47, decided to go HVAF where she met HVAF Case Manager, Jason Murray.
At HVAF, Davina learned that she qualified for the SSVF program and HVAF helped her furnish her apartment as well as provided bus passes which allowed her to use money from her full-time job at a local call center to pay bills. HVAF also helped provide Davina with food, hygiene and clothing items.
Shelter from the storm
“I had always been a fighter, but I was scared. I was scared of rejection. I don’t like to depend on people. I am very independent and that was one of my biggest challenges to open up and allow people to help me.”
Now she is in from the rain and has a roof over her head.
“I love my apartment because it fits me. It’s no thrills but I pay my own rent. I feel like I am getting back to the way I was before drugs. Everything in the apartment belongs to me.”
Davina has been clean and sober since November 2014. She is motivated to stay clean and sober so that she can be present for her future grandchildren. She also recently purchased a car which she says has been a blessing.