June 20 at 9:54pm
Interfaith Aids in Ending Chronic Homelessness for Navy Veteran
As home to one of the largest populations of veterans ranging from the Vietnam era to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Interfaith Community Services provides a wide range of specialized services to those living in San Diego County. Through the Recuperative Care Program, Interfaith is able to offer shelter, counseling, and educational services to homeless veterans in North County and lead them on the road to independence and self-sufficiency.
Earlier this month, Interfaith was able to sit down with one of its most recent Recuperative Care graduates, Tracy H., to discuss his experiences in the program and journey to self-sufficiency.
A Detroit native, Tracy moved to San Diego while in high school. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Navy, was able to stay in Southern California and began working as a Naval electrician. After serving active duty for three years during the Persian Gulf War, Tracy made the switch to the active reserves, where he continued to serve for another seven years before being honorably discharged.
Returning to civilian life proved difficult for Tracy, who soon went through a divorce and found himself homeless, living out of his car in Temecula. “I had a lot going on, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and sleeping outside while on medication is not easy,” said Tracy. When a suicide attempt sent him to the hospital, the VA began working with Tracy to exercise his benefits, find him housing, and get him on a stable medication routine – which was exactly what Interfaith’s Recuperative Care Program offered. In March 2016, Tracy moved into Interfaith’s Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center and was even able to move his therapy dog, Max, in with him.
“I felt safe and secure at Interfaith,” said Tracy. “For the first time in years, I felt at home.”
Tracy credits the Recuperative Care Program for helping him get on track with two of his previous barriers to self-sufficiency: a regular medication routine and the ability to get to all of his doctor’s appointments. After spending three months in the program and working on his recovery daily, Tracy got the keys to his new apartment in Fallbrook last Friday and began moving in over the weekend. “I thank God for Interfaith,” said Tracy, the day before receiving the keys to his new home. “I am so hopeful for my future. This has changed my life and given me a new beginning.”
“I just want to tell people to never be afraid and never quit. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Tracy.
For more information on Interfaith’s Recuperative Care Program and how you can help support our County’s homeless veteran population, please click here.