|Volume 13, Issue 2, 2013||Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas|
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One Veteran's Path to Self-Sufficiency and Independence
Staff at Volunteers of America of North Louisiana (VOANL) have found that one of the biggest challenges for homeless veterans is developing a long-term vision. When the veteran first arrives at the VOANL’s transitional housing facility, Gary Jaynes, director of veteran services, says, “They are just trying to get through this one day. We get really excited when the client starts thinking long term.”
One such client, Cliff Malone, achieved the ultimate success, closing on the purchase of his newly constructed single-family home less than four years after entering the transitional housing program.
Malone began his journey out of homelessness like many Volunteers of America clients, with a resident rehab program. He graduated from the transitional housing program and moved to an apartment. While Malone was not officially a resident at that point, he remained engaged in the VOANL program as a peer mentor. With his own apartment, he was able to develop rental and credit history of paying rent on time.
Now, through the Vets Build project led by the Fuller Center for Housing, Malone and three other VOA graduating veterans have achieved homeownership. The Fuller Center constructed the homes with partners including the Volunteers of America, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and donations from notables such as Roger Waters (founding member of the band Pink Floyd) and rock musician John Mayer. Another local faith-based nonprofit, Renesting, fully stocked the homes with furniture, linens, kitchen needs, etc.
Malone has worked his way up to manager at the local homeless day center and is well-prepared to maintain payments on his zero-interest mortgage and carry out all the responsibilities of homeownership.
For Malone, the best part about his recovery from homelessness is not the material benefits, but being reunited with his family. His daughter, who recently graduated from high school, will be coming to live with him while she attends nursing school. Malone said, “I was never there for her when she was growing up, but now I can be.”
e-Perspectives, Volume 13, Issue 2, 2013