Harold

Harold is a U.S. Army veteran originally from Shamokin, PA, a small coalmining town in central Pennsylvania. Joining the Army in 1984, Harold served as a team leader in a cohesion unit in Monteray, California. He views himself as having been chronically homeless since childhood as he was raised in a foster home and released from the system at age 18. After leaving the Army with an Other Than Honorable discharge for substance abuse, he returned to Pennsylvania and his family and he eventually ended up homeless after going through a variety of family and medical issues with his mother and sister. He came to Richmond in March of 2015 on his last $200.00. Shortly after coming to Richmond, he connected with Virginia Veterans and Family Support (Formerly Virginia Wounded Warriors) where his caseworker helped him find housing. He is now housemates with James. Harold spends his time now working on crafts and projects through the VA and hopes to one day build his own house on top of a hill.

 

James

James is a U.S. Army and Navy veteran from Richmond, VA. He joined the military in in 1986 and served 22 years between the 2 services. While in the military he served in field artillery, as military police (MP), and then finally in special ops. James was deployed to Panama and also served in Gulf War 1. During his time in the service he was also stationed in England, Japan, Korea, and Germany. James became homeless when the lady he was living with died. He could not afford to take over the lease of her apartment. He moved in with his grandparents and soon after, his grandfather died. He could not afford to support his grandmother on his own, and he was then left with nowhere to live. He lived on the streets, in his truck, and bounced from place to place before partnering up with a Virginia Supportive Housing case manager and becoming a participant in the HUD-VASH program to obtain permanent housing. James spends his time now taking classes at the VA and is working on his struggles with alcohol. He hopes to buy his own home soon.

Harold talks about how he came to Richmond, VA

Harold and James talk about how the military changed their world view- They view civilians as civilians and now they are out, they feel helpless.

“I know that people I used to work with and [untintellible] with, and they’re not trying to do anything with themselves. And they come to me, and I’m not your savior. You have to come to be someone who wants to do something. Help yourself.”

Harold and James talk about how they became homeless and family troubles after becoming homeless.

Harold and James talk about living in trashcans and not having friends on the street.

Harold and James talk about how its hard to make friends and feeling lonely in their current situation, causing them to seclude themselves and be depressed.

James talks about the barriers he faces in achieving his current goals and his support network.

Harold talks about the need for comraderie

Harold and James talk about why they think veterans become homeless.

James talks about feeling a need to give back to people who are struggling.

James talks about finally being happy and being proud of how far he has come in his journey with homelessness

James talks about mentally rising out of the struggle of homelessness.