Veteran Bryant Smith is a twice-decorated Navy Veteran and one year ago, he never thought he’d ever be excited about his future again. At that time, he lived in his car. Unable to bring himself to beg on the streets, he once went a week without eating. Each day, he trekked to the library every day to check his email on their free computers in desperate hopes for an interview; his cell phone was long gone. He went to a local gym for showers. Embarrassed and ashamed, he isolated himself. He tried his hardest to hide his homelessness.
Veteran Smith finally got a part-time job working at $12 an hour, but he couldn’t imagine how this job could help him afford to move out his car. He turned to the VA at the edge of despair. Veteran Smith reports that he thought the organization would only help service members who were retired military; he had no idea of the programs they had available for him. He was given a list and he phoned three resources. Operation Renewed Hope Foundation phoned him back in 24 hours.
In December 2016, Operation Renewed Hope Foundation’s case manager and the VA found this Veteran transitional housing, where he could mentally focus. “Having a roof over my head improved everything about me,” he explains. It helped him get organized. He was able to sleep through the night. He could polish his resume. His case manager and the VA found him a permanent home. His move-in was amazing: his ORHF case manager had turned his unit into a model home. She secured furniture donations. The bed was made. She provided pots and pans. “I was blown away.”
Now Veteran Smith has been promoted to management and says his ORHF case manager “saved my life.”