Joseph McCree, a navy veteran, struggled with addiction after his service ended. He said, “I’ve always had places to stay and nice things, but always lost it.”
At one point, Joseph worked hard to stay clean for five years before his battle with depression sent him into a short relapse. After that, he decided to face his troubles on his own and had no place to go. “Once you reach my age, every time you relapse you lose a piece of you and start over,” he explained.
A graduate of East Carolina University, with a degree in business, Joseph found himself alone and plagued with thoughts of suicide. His search for help led him to HomeAgain’s Veteran’s Transitional Program, which is located on the grounds of the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. He shared that, “I always looked at homeless people as different, but now I see it from a new perspective.”
“I am grateful for HomeAgain. They gave me a clean, safe place to live where I don’t have to pay. They guided me once they saw my ambition. You have to have initiative; it won’t just come to you.”
Joseph is now working two jobs and has recently secured a place of his own. He was very excited to discuss his new living arrangements and his success in the program. Overall, he wanted people to know that “There is help out there. If you really want it, this place will help you.”
He described the other men at the shelter as “brothers” explaining that they all act as a support system for one another. “Many people here have deeper issues; you can’t understand why you feel this way, but they know. We understand each other.”
“Some people have problems without the momentum. They need to be grabbed by the hand and helped… I’m so grateful; as long as I tried, HomeAgain had my back,” he said.
Joseph is enthusiastic about his new beginning and hopeful that one day he can return to school and get his masters. In regards to his future plans, he said, “I would love to own my own catering business.”
HomeAgain’s Veteran’s Transitional Program works to help clients find employment, settle housing related debts, and provide support in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. The shelter is specifically designed to reduce stress, and each client is expected to participate in the program and center’s chores. We are pleased with Joseph’s progress and hope to help all of our clients achieve their goals. Veterans who are successful help drive our organization!
(Joseph is pictured above at the Veteran’s Transitional Shelter.)