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Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone

A late rent payment, an emergency hospital stay, or an unexpected change in employment can be enough to drastically alter a person’s life. One unanticipated expense is enough to thrust many people into a financial crisis. In fact, 44% of Americans are unable to afford a $400 emergency expense. A financial crisis can quickly escalate, making it difficult to maintain stable housing. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate based on salary, job title, or zip code – it can happen to anyone.

You wouldn’t expect an individual with a long-term, successful career to find themselves without a home, but that’s just what happened to one of HomeAgain’s veteran residents, Greg. As an Army veteran with an aerospace degree and a 15 year career in the utility industry, Greg had what many would view as a successful career.

In February 2018, Greg relocated from Texas to Virginia for a contracted position in the utility industry. Greg’s jobs were often contract-based and required a lot of travel, so the nomadic lifestyle was something he had grown used to. His skills and industry knowledge had given Greg a higher level of job security than some of his colleagues.

After arriving in VA, Greg learned that the project he was contracted for had hit an unexpected roadblock. Necessary permits hadn’t been secured, and the project was at  standstill. Initially, the project delay seemed temporary, leaving Greg to choose between returning to Texas with no job, or finding temporary housing while he waited for the project to resume. The financial burden of traveling cross country only to quickly return to Texas didn’t seem feasible, and so Greg decided to stay in Virginia to await the project’s start date.

A few weeks went by and the project fell through. Having spent his money without any income, Greg could no longer afford the hotels he was staying in and ultimately faced a financial and housing crisis. Greg’s life drastically changed in a matter of weeks, but his circumstances became severely worse when he then experienced congestive heart failure. During this traumatic time not only did he accrue high medical bills, but because of his critical condition Greg was restricted from working for two months.

Fortunately as an Army veteran, Greg was able to receive medical treatment at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. When leaving the hospital, he was referred to HomeAgain’s Veterans Transitional Housing program. HomeAgain’s individualized case management services have provided Greg with the stability and support necessary to obtain stable housing. Greg is currently making big strides in his recovery process, and is waiting to hear back from a prospective job. While he never expected to be without a home or employment, Greg is optimistic that he will soon regain both.