Homer is a Vietnam War veteran. Forty years after his time in battle, when asked about it, he cries - then becomes quiet to answer, “I got shot up and sent home. Simple.”
He says there are no words for what he experienced - and only other Vietnam veterans can understand the trauma of that war. After coming back to the United States, Homer found himself looking for peace. For 16 years, he lived in a home out in the country in northern Arizona. And then heartache came into his life again through an abuser.
After losing his leg and being confined to a wheelchair, he was abused in his home by his roommate. He called Catholic Charities for help and met what he calls his angel.
After getting the call, Caitlyn York, Catholic Charities case manager, drove out to Homer's house with another staff member, and Buster, a therapeutic dog, to get Homer to safety. Then she looked to find him a home he could stay in.
"It's not always easy to find housing," Kate said, "but it kind of fell together."
York works with Catholic Charities program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families program (SSVF). SSVF helps veterans and veteran families who are facing eviction or homelessness. This includes deposits and up to five months rental assistant in a year. Clients will also receive basic case management that may include transportation to medical appointments, grocery assistance, referrals to other agencies and other needed services.
She Saved Me
Veterans, like Homer, no longer have to face the stress of living on the streets or trying to survive unsafe situations on their own.
“She came and got me, she saved me,” said Homer.
York initially brought him to a motel for eight days until she could find housing. After some research, York found a spacious apartment that has plenty of room for Homer to navigate in his wheelchair. It's close to the downtown area in Flagstaff, so that he can be connected to his community. She also found him additional supportive services at Veterans Assistance.
And even now, York continues to offer support. “Homer has met the goals we set at the beginning, but we still talk regularly," said York. "I’ll send food boxes when needed.”
Homer doesn’t like to think about where he would be without York and Catholic Charities, “I would have been sleeping in a cardboard box if it weren’t for Catholic Charities.”
If you would like to honor the men and women who have fought for your freedom, learn more about how you can help veterans in your community.