May 18 at 10:01am

Local veteran excels in Recuperative Care Program

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Home to one of the largest veteran populations in the country, Interfaith provides a wide range of specialized programs and services to our nation’s heroes in San Diego County. Nearly five years ago, Interfaith identified a lack of services for homeless veterans leaving the hospital post-operation; with nowhere to recover from surgery but the streets, many never fully healed from their hospital stays.

After identifying this need, Interfaith began its Recuperative Care Program, providing emergency housing and support to veterans recovering from an illness or injury.  Since its beginning in 2010, the program has supported and served more than 200 veterans, with 71% of participants successfully exiting by obtaining permanent housing and achieving stability.

This week, Interfaith sat down with Vincent, a graduate of the Recuperative Care Program, to hear his story and learn about his experience with the program.

Born just outside of Pensacola, Florida, Vincent served in the Army for three years, spending most of his time in Germany as a missile crewman.  Returning to Florida after deployment, he became the head painter for a defense contractor; unfortunately, he was laid off a few months later.  “I got behind on my bills,” said Vincent, “and I couldn’t keep up.  I needed help and had heard about the veteran services in San Diego; I just got on the bus and came here.”

Vincent arrived in San Diego with $1,000 to his name.  He lived in a hotel while deciding his next move and once his money ran out, he became homeless.  After a month on the streets, Vincent went to the VA, who referred him to the Recuperative Care Program.

“I just couldn’t see myself on the streets anymore,” said Vincent. “I decided it was time to change and the VA and Interfaith were both there to help me out.”

Vincent spent five months in the program – attending counseling sessions, adapting a regular medication schedule, and making friends with other program participants.

“When I came here to the Recuperative Care Program, I thought to myself ‘I can do this,’ and then things just started getting better,” said Vincent.

Today, Vincent is proud to report that he graduated from Recuperative Care in March 2013 and lives in his own apartment in Escondido.  He remains friends with those he met in the program and looks forward to volunteering with Interfaith, giving back to the organization he says has given him a second lease of life.

“This program has helped me immensely,” said Vincent.  “I am so thankful for all the help everyone has given me.  Everything just came together and at the same time – I couldn’t ask for more.”

Interfaith Community Services is currently building a new home for its Recuperative Care Program, to be named the Veteran and Family Resource Center.  Upon its completion, the 10,000 square foot facility, located at 250 N. Ash St., will enhance Interfaith’s ability to achieve its mission of Helping People Help Themselves. For information on how you can contribute to this project, either with monetary gifts or in-kind donations, please contact Interfaith’s Chief Development Officer Robert Adams at radams@interfaithservices.org or by calling (760) 489-6380 ext. 206.