Joel had been living in his car with his dog for two months when he met Shawn Dowling, his local VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans program coordinator. Dowling introduced Beach to Ken Leslie, founder of the VA partner organization Veterans Matter, and within a week, Beach had an apartment.
“This place is awesome,” Beach said of his new apartment. “It feels good to do laundry and take showers — the basics — again.”
For Beach and other formerly homeless Veterans, housing is more than a roof over their heads — it is one major step toward a better life. Veterans can and do become homeless for many different reasons, such as a move to an area with more expensive housing, service-related trauma that leads to issues like substance use, or the loss of a job. Through VA and its range of community partners, homeless Veterans are housed and then given access to the specific resources they need to stay housed so that they can achieve their full potential.