3 Years of Service. 40 Years of Homelessness.

Justin* entered the Army in 1976 and gave three years to serving his country. 

Those three years impacted his life in ways he never could have imagined. During his service, he witnessed and experienced traumatic events that have haunted him for over 40 years.  

After he was honorably discharged in April of 1979, he struggled to reconnect with society and cope with the debilitating symptoms of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  

Justin felt overwhelmed, alone and misunderstood. His family and friends couldn’t relate to his experiences and he found it difficult to relate to them.

“My personal life was getting bleaker and bleaker,” Justin shares. “I became very isolated…”

Depressed, isolated and alone, Justin suffered from agonizing migraines. The physical, mental and emotional trauma began taking a devastating toll. He soon found himself bouncing from place to place, eventually ending up on the streets.  

Justin recalls struggling with homelessness 

19 times in the past 40 years. 

When Justin came to the Mission he was simply surviving, certain that no one could help. Instead he found fellow veterans who understood his unique trauma and could support him with the personalized care he needed.  

“They look at the vets as a special group here,” Justin shares. “They offer services that really affect the part of society that struggles the most and give back to people that have lost some of their personal well-being.”  

Now, Justin has a special team of Veterans Affairs representatives and Rescue Mission case managers working to help him secure disability benefits and long-term housing. 

“It gives me hope to have people taking an interest in me that are also veterans. You can really see their dedication to helping people,” Justin says. 

Justin no longer feels isolated. He’s made valuable friendships with staff members and with fellow veterans staying in our shelter space specifically designated for veterans experiencing homelessness.

“I’ve really had no friends,” Justin shares. “But I’ve made friends here.” 

His time at the Mission has empowered Justin to move from merely surviving to thriving. Now he wants to give back by serving other veterans as a peer counselor. 

We look forward to seeing how God will use Justin’s testimony and experiences as he walks alongside his fellow veterans.

*Name and photo changed to protect client privacy