Homeless Doesn’t Mean Hopeless

Henry* was born on an Army base in Fort Allen, Puerto Rico. His grandfather served at the base and his father worked there as a civilian.  The son of two Army veteran’s, his mother served as a nurse in the Army and his father was a chemical specialist.  As a child, he enjoyed Army life and living in different places including in Germany, Italy, Greece and throughout the United States.

In 1997 Henry started his Army career in the military infantry and served at the Mexican border patrol.  After his active duty, he was an Army Reservist station in Fort Bragg, SC, Fort Dix, NJ, and Ft. Lewis, TX.  During his service he was deployed to Iraq for the Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom Wars.

After his service, he obtained his CDL license and became a trash truck driver for 20 years. Then he embarked on a new career in construction. Just five months into his new job, his life changed forever.

Long days on the road travelling to different construction sites were exhausting. Henry used the commute to catch up on his sleep. Unfortunately, the driver of the van fell asleep while driving and ran into a pole. Henry woke up in the hospital with a fractured hip, elbow and 52 stitches in his head.

 For Henry, it was time to make some changes in his life. That’s when he reached out to his VA social worker and asked for help. “I never knew the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program existed. I was blown away by all the help I received, “ he noted.  Henry could focus all his energy on his rehabilitation and recovery instead of worrying about being homeless, where he was going to stay or worrying about his next meal.

From Homeless to Hopeful

Henry and his fiancé got the support they needed to get through these challenging times.  Kimberly Hartman, SSVF case manager, was able to provide the assistance they needed and help them find permanent housing.  “I served our country and now there were people out there who were going to help me.  They were like angels sent from God,” he added.  

Henry moved into his new apartment and continues to focus on increasing his strength and mobility. “I feel better about myself.  I have hope and I know I can take care of myself,” noted Henry.  He encourages other veterans to ask for help. “There are people out there who are willing to help you–you just have to ask.”  

Supportive Services for Veteran Families  at Opportunity House assists veterans and their families in Lancaster and Schuylkill Counties who are at imminent risk of homelessness or are experiencing homelessness.  Call us at 610-457-1134 or email hwolf@opphouse.org.


*Name used to protect client confidentiality.


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