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Homeless Veterans

"Don't be afraid to face your fears or your doubts. Be unafraid of failure."

Tallahassee, Florida native Charles Windom vividly remembers growing up listening to Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band with his sisters. Charles’ father is a Navy Veteran that served in World War II, and just 7 days after graduating high school, Charles joined the Navy as well.

For 20 years, Charles traveled the world and was granted the opportunity to live in Italy, Iceland and California while focusing on telecommunications. He retired from the Navy in 2001, prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Charles is a Master of Information Technology and spent many years working in telecommunications at AT&T.

Charles became homeless in the fall of 2013 after an intense divorce in which he lost his home, car and experienced significant wage garnishments. Charles moved in with his sister in South Carolina for 3 months, but later decided to relocate to Jacksonville, Florida in order to pursue job opportunities. Only 8 short days after moving to Jacksonville, Charles fell ill and was in a coma from November 2013 through February 2014. Once he came out of his coma, he spent many months in rehab regain muscle recognition. Charles recalls being unable to lift a book bag.

After completing rehab, Charles moved back near his sister and immediately began to apply for jobs in Atlanta. In June 2014, he visited the VA for housing options and was placed at Essence of Hope, where he lived for 1 month. He became involved with the United Way of Greater Atlanta SSVF program in July 2014, when placed in permanent housing. He is grateful for the staff at Recovery Consultants of Atlanta for assisting him with housing and job placement, especially during his weakened physical state. He also received legal assistance from the Georgia Law Center.

Charles noted that during his plight of homelessness and illness, he was never depressed or sad, he was simply grateful to breathe on his own. He was very confident that the best was yet to come. Charles is currently an Applications Engineer Manager for Southern Company, and enjoys studying, cooking and eating. Although there are many things that Charles would like to accomplish in the near future, he says that he’s learned that “change won’t happen in a week.”