Volunteers of America opens transitional housing for veteran families

Volunteers of America Mid-States is excited to announce the recent opening of a Veterans’ Annex to house families participating in our Louisville Family Housing Services. 

Community kitchen and living room

Our new Veterans Annex is made possible due to the generous  support of  an anonymous donor, the Home Depot Foundation and UPS Foundation. Our renovated facility, located within our Louisville Family Housing Services continuum of services, provides transitional housing for up to four veterans and their families at one time, including James Jr., Lisa, and their two young children, the first veteran family to move into the new living space.

James and Lisa and their children came to Volunteers of America after James suffered a stroke and eventually lost his ability to hold his position as the lead cook at a local restaurant. James and Lisa are like many other parents we serve, and struggled to make ends meet while raising their two children, James III, 3, and Chloe, 20 months. Each day since they entered our program brings triumphs, such as Lisa’s recertification as a Certified Nursing Assistant and James’ recent new role as a Manager-in-Training for a local healthcare company. There are challenges, too, including navigating day care and nursing Chloe through a bad earache. No matter what, though, the family has been able to remain together and receive comprehensive services and support from our program which is transforming them back into self-sufficiency. 

The family appreciates the reality that without Volunteers of America they would likely be separated as this is a common practice with most homeless service providers . “I would rather have a bad day with Lisa than not have any days at all with her,” said James, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. 

 “We had been on a waiting list for services since January [2015],” Lisa said. “On March 25th, the day that we literally would not have any place to sleep that night, we received a call that Volunteers of America had an opening for us. We went from walking the streets to our lives taking a huge upward turn.”

Since then, the family has worked hard to regain their footing, including working with Louisville Family Housing Services’ staff to secure veterans’ benefits for James, who joined the Reserves as a sophomore in high school and was later activated for Operation Desert Storm. After ten years of active duty, he left the military and like many other veterans, later utilized the GI Bill for college and a VA loan to buy a home. Discovering that there were so many other options available to veterans was a big surprise. “I’ve been out of the military since 1994,” he said. “I didn’t know that there were benefits for veterans like me.”

When asked about the future, James Jr. said, “The sky’s the limit. When you go through challenges like we have, you learn to re-prioritize your life. We may not know what the future will bring, but our family is stronger and we can handle it.”