News: Courier-Journal 10-31-15

Veterans | VOA helps addicted, homeless

Jennifer Hancock, special to the Courier-Journal, 12:02 p.m. EDT October 31, 2015

Marine veteran Doug R., is proud of how he is leading his life after serving our country in the Philippines and South Pacific. Doug owns a small home repair business that keeps him very busy. He is hard working, a loyal friend, and a loving son, father and grandfather.

Life was not always like this for Doug. If it were not for the services provided by Volunteers of America Mid-States, Doug’s story could be completely different.

When Doug enlisted at the age of 19 he had hoped to escape the years of exposure to drug and alcohol abuse in his childhood home. While in active duty and during his free time, Doug began drinking with his fellow Marines. He quickly learned this only temporarily washed away his troubles.

By the time Doug returned to civilian life, Doug was a high-functioning addict. He earned his associates degree and held professional positions such as a marketing director at a local magazine. Eventually, he could no longer manage or hide his addiction. His teenage children would go running when they saw him come to the door. He lost his job. He lost his home and found himself living on the streets.

Addicted, homeless and alone—this is the story we hear often at Volunteers of America Mid-States.

Last year, Volunteers of America served 1,200 veterans for addiction and issues related to poverty, including homelessness. Providing 15 different veteran services in five states— Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, southern Ohio and southern Indiana—Volunteers of America is committed to helping veterans turn their lives around. Veterans just like Doug, who received residential treatment for his addiction, as well as employment and housing counseling among other professional services.

Our professional, licensed programs in Louisville include:

  • Veterans Addiction Recovery Program, a residential substance abuse treatment program for homeless veterans and veterans with mental health issues. Our highly professional, licensed and certified alcohol and drug counselors provide evidence-based, intensive therapeutic and rehabilitative services in a residential setting that focuses on veterans’ sobriety and mental health. To learn more, call (502) 635-4531.
  • Supportive Services for Veterans and Families provides supportive services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. This program provides veterans and their families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining Department of Veteran Administration and other benefits. To learn more, call (502) 384-0989.
  • The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program provides outreach, case management, employment counseling, job training, job placement, and transportation to homeless veterans or veterans at risk of being homeless. To learn more, call (502) 409-6298.
  • To learn more about all the services we provide to our region’s veterans, visit www.voamid.org/veterans.

Because of Volunteers of America and the coordinated services provided by our Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville partners, 1,200 veterans can now say, like Doug, they live lives full of hope. The services provided by Volunteers of America and our VCAL partners save lives. It is our great honor to serve those who have so proudly served all of us and ensure our veterans have second chances at healthy, successful lives. They have fought battles both out in the field and back at home, and the time is now for us to join together and give back to these brave women and men along with their families.

It takes the entire community to help us create positive change in the lives of veterans and our community. To join us please contact me at JenniferH@voamid.org or (502) 636-4649.

Jennifer Hancock is the President/CEO of Volunteers of America—Mid-States.