There was no support system for John to fall back on due to various complexities with his family, which contributed to a strained relationship with them. As a result, he did not reach out to them for support. Also during this time, his mounting emotional and psychological issues made it challenging for him to hold steady employment as he went from one job to another.
John is a military veteran who served for 5 years in Afghanistan during Desert Fox. Upon discharge from the military, John struggled greatly with anger and substance use, which were compounded by mental health issues.
He eventually began dealing marijuana as a source of income, which led to a felony conviction (distribution of a controlled substance).
Many convicted felons find it difficult to obtain employment after time in prison and John was no different. Upon release, he subsequently became homeless, devoid of viable employment opportunities, enslaved to a substance addiction that greatly amplified his mental and emotional illnesses.
The local emergency shelter system referred John to NSO for permanent supportive housing. Once in housing, NSO case managers realized potential in John and began cultivating a relationship with him, providing individualized support structured around his unique profile and needs.
Often, people who experience homelessness for a long period of time are in survival mode and feel that the system works against them.
Providing John with a place to live, with no strings attached (Housing First), created trust and allowed for him to begin breaking down barriers and working on issues that caused his homelessness.
John was provided with wrap around case management services, which eventually led to connecting him to mental health treatment and primary health care. But John’s troubles were not over.
He struggled with accepting the need for medications to treat his mental illness. It wasn’t until after numerous suicide attempts and inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations, that John slowly began to allow his case manager to coordinate health services with him. The results were profoundly impactful.
John has been drug free for two years and not had any inpatient hospitalization during that time.
During this period of stabilization, John has reconnected with his brother and three children and linked with workforce development, where he has been able to obtain and maintain employment.
John has now been stably housed for ten years and now looks forward to visiting his children every weekend. NSO is more than an organization that provides shelter. It provides clinical and recovery services, case management, housing, and wrap-around coordinated care services to help ensure the short and long term success of its clients.
But above all, it sees the possibilities in those who have fallen on hard times and empowers them to rise above their circumstances and realize their potential.
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