A Tucson Veteran's Story
A Veteran Success Story in Ending Veteran Homelessness
After 30 Years, Homeless No More
A Tucson Veteran's Story | Dec. 10, 2015
In his mid-50s, the Tucson–area Army Veteran had been homeless for 30 years. He was among the small population of Veterans whose history of legal and justice involvement severely limits housing options and can perpetuate homelessness. The Veteran’s criminal history and his untreated mental health and substance use issues led him to disengage from the support system. Disengagement hardened into distrust and led to an overall unfamiliarity of VA resources potentially available to him. All of these factors contributed to his chronic homelessness.
Despite his three decades on the streets, VA outreach workers and community-based partners continued to try to earn the Veteran’s trust. Eventually, a community agency case manager convinced the Veteran to become more accepting and aware of VA medical care and treatment and community housing resources. Caseworkers then tapped a Tucson permanent housing program willing to house chronically homeless Veterans who are ineligible for VA housing and other community resources. The case manager and VA staff worked to get the Veteran enrolled in housing.
Once the Veteran was permanently housed, he was connected to treatment for alcohol dependence and post-traumatic stress disorder. This Veteran, once so distrustful of the system, was surprised by the wide range of treatment options available to him. With newfound ability to address the issues that for so long held him back, the Veteran is looking forward to rejoining the workforce and to a future filled with possibilities.