Did you know that U.S. war veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless? Getting re-introduced into society after experiencing the traumas of conflict can lead to significant risk factors such as severe anxiety, trouble re-connecting with family and friends and drug use.
Craig, a Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Forrestal, unfortunately fell into this all-too-common trap when he returned home from the Gulf War. Suffering from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder his relationships became strained.
“When I came back, I went through a difficult time. I experienced separation from my family,” says Craig.
That’s when he started using substances to help take the pain away.
“I started using substances to cope,” he says. “The funny thing is, when you start (using drugs) you don’t really think about how it’s going to end.”
Craig lacked the proper support network like so many veterans who are cast aside. When he arrived at Holy Cross’ New Hope Community Center, he described himself as a “lost soul.” Thanks to the support and counseling offered at New Hope, Craig put a stop to his personal tailspin and got back on his feet.
Craig is just one of over 6,000 people every year who depend on New Hope. The Center provides programs and services to veterans, adults and families experiencing homelessness who have nowhere else to turn.
For the first time in a long time, Craig is now on stable ground and optimistic about the future thanks to New Hope.
“I’m truly honored to be here at Holy Cross and they serve so many people and do so many wonderful things. They change lives.”
Learn more about the New Hope Community Center.
The battle against homelessness in Michigan has always been one that is measured in small victories. But then came 2020, throwing all attack strategies out the window and effectively redrawing the battlefield for everyone.
As COVID-19 maintains its grip on America, fears are growing that the pandemic is creating a health crisis of another kind: a relapse into addiction by people battling substance abuse. Any recovered addict will tell you that their battle with substance abuse is one they fight every single day, and that certain triggers can make that struggle even harder. The greatest of these, agree experts, is perhaps social isolation. Safety requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have not only encouraged isolation but demanded it. (more…)
Sometimes it is the smallest people who teach us the biggest lessons.
Sharon Berkobien sees this happen every day.
“I've just learned a tremendous amount about resiliency and what that takes,” she says.
“About what people can actually survive and go through and come out the other side.”
Like so many people, Lisa never imagined she’d need to knock on the door of a homeless shelter and ask for help.
“Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned,” said Lisa, who’s from Lansing and had been homeless for about a year before coming to Holy Cross Services’ New Hope Community Center.
“At first I thought it was embarrassing,” she said. “It was hard. I didn’t want to be here. I thought the world was on my back. I was broken. It was horrible.”
Most kids find their parents nagging them to clean up their room just plain annoying.
For Jarrett, it’s the normalcy he’s been missing in his life, and he’s not complaining one bit.
“With my family…I went out to eat, I made the bed; the bed that I’m supposed to be making,” smiled the 10-year-old.
Jason came to Lansing to help a friend and ended up needing to help himself because of his struggle with being homeless. He made the move to help his friend back in 2017, supporting his new roommate until the living arrangement became too chaotic. Left feeling sick because of his environment, Jason found himself homeless and adrift.
“Being homeless is like being lost in space,” he said. “You don't know where to go or what to do; it's scary.”Jason bounced from shelter to shelter, until earlier this year when he landed at Homeless Angels, a street-based outreach organization in Lansing. While there, he’s also received support from programs at Holy Cross Services’ New Hope Community Center. (more…)
Gebrelle had dropped out of the eighth grade and felt like he was nothing more than a lost cause.
“I was doing a bunch of stuff I wasn’t supposed to do,” admitted the teen, who struggled in school and had fallen behind.
Gebrelle, who thought he never had a chance, said he found one when he arrived at Holy Cross Services. The organization offered him something so many teens in troubled situations say they need: understanding.
“There’s people here that I can relate to,” he said. “They’ve been through stuff that I did.”