Robert N. admits he was a tough kid. The tenth child of eleven siblings, Robert’s parents served as role models of perseverance and determination. His mother cleaned houses and his father worked in the coal mines of northern Pennsylvania and the Steam Heat Plant in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
In his junior year of high school, Robert quit school. Thanks to John Powers, a determined and influential teacher, Robert returned to school and graduated from Pottsville Area High School. After graduation, he joined the Navy as a boatman’s mate. His Navy career was short-lived after he was diagnosed with a heart murmur and honorably discharged.
Robert returned home to his native Pottsville, Pennsylvania, and worked for Schuylkill County Weatherization Program. During his career, he was diagnosed with a bone condition called avascular necrosis and had five hip replacement surgeries. Unfortunately, his employer was no longer able to hold his job open as he recovered from his last hip replacement surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
For 13 years, Robert, a Navy veteran, lived in the same apartment in Pottsville. He had an absentee landlord who let the building deteriorate and it fall apart over the years. “I had black mold in the bathroom. The steam would make it worse and I couldn’t breathe,” said Robert. “I knew I had to get out of there.”
Navy Veteran Asks for Help
With no place to turn, Robert contacted the Veterans Program at Opportunity House and found an advocate in his case manager. “She helped me a lot. She helped me find a new apartment and checked in on me all the time,” noted Robert. He and his fiance, Kimberly, an Army veteran, were thankful for the services they received including food. He and his fiancé Kim appreciate the ongoing support of their case manager. “She is the best. She looks after us to be sure we are safe.”
Today, Robert is an advocate for Veteran Services and recommends them to any veteran who is homeless in Berks County, Pennsylvania, contact Opportunity House in Reading, Pennsylvania.
“You will get the help and support you need to get back on your feet,” he added. He notes that it’s a partnership that involves the Veteran taking action to get back on his/her feet. Opportunity House and the case managers provide the tools, you have to use them.
Veterans in Berks County, Pennsylvania experiencing homelessness can contact Opportunity House at 610-374-4696 ext 247 to get emergency shelter.