Profiles of VICtory: Tom, Navy Veteran
Meet Tom, a Navy Veteran
Tom severed in the Navy for six years after Operation Desert Storm, and never thought he would find himself in Albuquerque. Growing up in South Carolina, Tom never dreamed he would call New Mexico home, but needed a change in scenery after a messy divorce. A friend had recently moved to Albuquerque, so Tom came for a visit, and fell in love with the mild climate and scenic mountains. A back injury in 2005 prevented Tom from being able to work. He soon found himself homeless after exhausting his savings and no family support in his new state. After talking to a VA nurse that mentioned the VIC housing programs, Tom called and was enrolled immediately. Tom used our Emergency Housing Program so that he could transition from homelessness, and this allowed VIC staff to determine his unique needs before enrolling him into one of our other housing models. Working with his case manager, Tom was able to develop a new plan that ensured homelessness was not a part of the solution again. He spent five months in the Transitional Housing Program, where Tom learned friendship, and worked on the struggles that negatively affected his life with the VIC licensed counselor. Tom was connected with our friends in the HUD-VASH program at the VA, and was able to secure a voucher that helped him afford a new apartment with his disabilities that kept him from supporting himself. As part of his Stability Plan, Tom also obtained disability benefits and found a new apartment that would become his new forever home. He continued to received case management services so that Tom had a strong plan that would keep him independent and self-supportive for the long-term. Tom was reminded by his VIC case manager that although he was graduating from the VIC, that he could always come back if he needed to talk with someone or needed additional supports at any time. To ease Tom’s worry of permanent housing, the VIC Donations Coordinator arranged for him to receive and choose his own sofa and a few pieces of artwork for his new home. Part of our process at the VIC is to address all problems, and the artwork allowed Tom to be in control of his anxiety and depression. Tom picked out a red sofa because it reminded him South Carolina sunsets. Tom was very grateful for the VIC and said he doesn’t know where he’d be without the caring staff and housing programs that helped him out of a deep hole of depression.
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