The room was filled with applause and even some tears, but they were tears of joy as three veterans recalled their past. On Friday, October 31, Joe N., Jesse W. and Matt T. received a certificate of completion from HVAF’s Residential Employment Substance Abuse Treatment (REST) program.
|Joe, Jesse and Matt (from left to right)|
They were supported by family, friends, and HVAF staff. All three veterans were praised for completing the program, a recovery-dynamics based supportive housing program for homeless veterans whose primary goal is to maintain sobriety while obtaining employment and permanent housing.
Veterans receive individual and group counseling, psycho-educational classes and intensive case management.
These veterans also gave back through volunteer efforts at HVAF. Whether it was sorting donations or serving up a warm meal each had contributed roughly 30 service hours.
“It works if you want it,” says Joe. “I came here desperate and I asked for help and got it. I couldn’t do it by myself and now it’s about how I can help others.”
Jesse, 52, an Air Force veteran says the loss of a loved one led to his homelessness and he entered HVAF housing in June 2013. He now works at Methodist Hospital and plans to go back to school at Ivy Tech. Veterans at HVAF are referred to the IU School of Dentistry to provide dentistry to those who need it most. In the New Year, Jesse will receive dentures. HVAF has also helped Jesse qualify for free eye glasses.
He credits his success through running with Back on My Feet (BOMF), a national program which helps promote self-sufficiency through running. Joe and Matt also participate in Back on My Feet.
“HVAF got me through to the path I needed to succeed in life,” says Jessie.
Matt was 23 years old when he entered the U.S. Army for the opportunity it provided him to attend college. After leaving the military, Matt worked as Deputy Assessor at the Washington Township Assessor’s Office in Indianapolis. It was after accepting a job transfer to Evansville, Indiana, which took him far from family and friends, that depression began to consume him.
“I felt like a lonely man on an island,” Matt says.
Alcohol addiction led to job loss which led to Matt’s homelessness. Today, he gives thanks to the HVAF program and staff.
“HVAF REST Coordinator Fred Young has also been an example of what cleaning living can produce,” says Matt. “With God’s help I have more hope, more blessings and more confidence.”
|Fred Young of HVAF, Joe (REST graduate) and Curtis Williamson of HVAF|
|Fred Young of HVAF, Matt (REST graduate) and Curtis Williamson of HVAF|
|Fred Young of HVAF, Jesse (REST graduate) and Curtis Williamson of HVAF|