If you’ve walked throughPeople’sPark in Bloomingtonin the pasttenyears, you might have noticed Stan Staples.
The wearyveteranmay have seemed invisible in the rush of commuters grabbing coffee from the coffee shopacross the streeteachmorning,or passers-bypicking out clothing from a nearby boutique.
Stanhad no home.
Using some of the survival skills he learned in the military, Stan lived on the streetsof Bloomington. He would finda spot in the city where officers didn’t frequent. The Army veteran had not worked for 14 years. And gum disease hadcaused himto lose all of his teeth.
“I gave up and had no goals and my own laziness led to my homelessness,” says Stan. “I also turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to copeI couldn’t satisfy expectations othershadplacedon me andas a resultI didn’t have any self-esteem. And since I suffered from gum disease I had my teeth pulled so I rarely smiled,” adds Stan.
That changed when Stantraveled totheIndianapolisVAwhich was where helearned aboutservices offered to homeless veterans and provided free to Stan.
Stan entered HVAF’s housing and recovery program in June 2014.For the first time in 14 years he had a room in a safe, clean supportive housing building for veterans.
At HVAF’s Residential, Employment, Substance Abuse, Treatment (REST) program, Stan stayed for 8 ½ months and received a certificate of recovery program completion. During that time in recovery, HVAF referred him to the IU School of Dentistry for free dental work. He received dentures.
The partnership betweenHVAFand the IU School of Dentistryproved to a stepping stone in his life.Stan received a new set of dentures from the IU School of Dentistry which was completely free.
Once Stan graduated from the REST program hemoved into another HVAF property – the Manchester Apartments for an additional 6 months and in March, hebegan workingat the Salvation Army.
“HVAF taught me to believe in myself again and to not be afraid to ask for help,” says Stan.
Today, Stan has his own room with a private bathroomin an apartment. He has a microwave and refrigerator. “On the streets you couldn’t keep clean. Now I have a roof over my head.”