Meet Ben, an Air Force Veteran
Ben served in the Air Force during the 1970’s, right after Vietnam. He was referred to the VIC from our friends at Goodwill Industries. Ben was on the verge of eviction and did not know what to do. He felt alone and had made some bad decisions that led him to potential homelessness again. After talking with our Outreach Team, Ben made the decision to enroll in our Transitional Housing Program. Ben who went decades bouncing between housing and homelessness for twenty years, believed that the VIC would be able to help him work on the struggles that plagued him since he left the military. As he worked on these issues, Ben found friendship in his roommates, and felt for the first time in years that he was taking control of his own life. Using the VIC in-house support groups, Ben was able to talk about the problems that no one had ever asked him about. He felt a newfound sense of belonging, and thrived as he continued to attend group sessions with other VIC Veterans. As we do with many clients, Ben also was enrolled in our SSVF Program, where a plan was developed to transition him into permanent housing in less than nine months. Ben was able to work on his credit with our partners at NM Legal Aid, access services at the local VA, and find a part-time job that agreed to work with him if he continued his work with the VIC group counseling sessions. Ben also got help at the VA and now operates his own snack stand! Having this new support, Ben is now thriving on his own independence, and still checks in with the VIC where he brings a smile to the staff with his jokes. And yes, he still operates a snack stand where VIC staff have been known to stop for lunch and lend their support to a Veteran-owned business.
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