It was after Damian Rodriguez—a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Navy–returned home from the military that he got caught up with the wrong crowd. He landed in jail for 30 days.
“Unfortunately, after jail, I was released onto the streets [with] nowhere to go and no one to call,” Damian, 50, recounts in the video below.
He had a part time job, but couldn’t afford a place to stay in the expensive Alexandria, Virginia area. Returning to his native New York was not an option because of his probation, so he lived out of a car for several months.
Damian was hesitant to get help.
“I really didn’t feel like stripping down my dignity to other people–telling them my personal story,” he says. “I’d already been through enough, but I started praying and I made the phone call.”
The call he made in 2015 was to Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s Supportive Services for Veterans Families Programs.
Watch what helped him overcome his embarrassment and how he’s thriving now:
The VOAC Veterans program identified an apartment Damian could afford, provided financial assistance to obtain the apartment, and made initial rent payments.