Charles is someone you will never meet, yet you have changed his life for the better in so many ways. As a teenager, he was raised in an area where he saw violence, shootings and beatings every day. He was afraid and didn’t feel like he had a lot of choices. He chose to drink and do drugs to make himself numb and feel less afraid. These choices made him love himself less and less. When his mom died, he felt even more unloved and alone. He had nowhere to live, couldn’t hold a job because of his addictions and mental illness and lived most of his life on the street, homeless.
Fortunately, he met Ann, an outreach worker with Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans. Ann goes to meet our most vulnerable community members where they are. She met Charles at a homeless shelter. Within weeks, Charles started making different choices—choices that would change his life forever. A choice to love himself by getting into treatment for his mental illness and his alcohol and drug addictions. A choice to get sober and to continue working on his sobriety—one day at a time.
Now, if you were to see Charles, you wouldn’t find him on the street or in a homeless shelter. He lives in his own one-bedroom apartment because of Ann and our Permanent Supportive Housing Program. You’ll find him with a smile on his face and hope in his eyes. He even stands a little taller. That’s what you made happen with your help and support.
You and others like you in our community help us close our funding gap so we can provide needed resources like Ann to provide the care and support individuals like Charles need.
The following is a story from an individual who receives services from our Permanent Supportive Housing program. This program serves persons and families, with low incomes and a qualifying disability, helping them maintain safe, sanitary and secure housing. Persons are referred to the program through the Louisiana state Office of Aging and Adult Services (OAAS). The program’s Housing Support Team provides persons with case management services, helping them outline goals and practical steps toward reaching them. The team serves more than 200 persons with an array of services that include budgeting, employment search, obtaining entitlements, developing social networks and health and mental health referrals.
Mr. G was a homeless but determined individual with a desire to become independent and self sufficient. He desired to become a chef and open his own business. Mr. G started receiving services from Volunteers of America in 2005 and brought with him the baggage of mental health illness and substance abuse.
Throughout the duration of his treatment, Mr. G experienced many obstacles that hindered him from seeing the positive side of his ambitions. Mr. G encountered a few visits of being in and out of the correctional institution for an array of offenses, all resulting from poor judgment. Even though Mr. G. encountered these setbacks, he continued to think positively about what he desired. At times, Mr. G experienced different stages of depression. Each step Mr. G took towards rejoining society, he was knocked down again. He lost his job due to incarceration and personal injury.
Through it all, the support he received from Volunteers of America’s Supportive Housing Program gave him the incentive to succeed and become a better person for himself and his children.
In 2010, Mr. G became aware of a personal trade he possessed and decided to open hisown business. Mr. G is a proud owner of his own lawn maintenance company, wherehe’s consistently building his clientele. Mr. G has moved into an apartment with the help of Volunteers of America and has found his soul-mate whom he states one day in the near future hewill soon marry. Mr. G is a great example of someone who continuously had setbacks but was determined to succeed thanks to help from Volunteers of America.