In January 2011, the Ohio State Highway Patrol picked up a man they found walking on State Route 23 just south of South Bloomfield and took him to the Circleville Police Department. Because the man was a homeless veteran, the CPD contacted Joe, Pickaway County Community Action’s (PICCA) transitional housing manager.
Joe called a local hotel to put the man up for the night so that PICCA could do an assessment for him the following morning. During his assessment, Joe learned the homeless veteran, Mark, had lost his job in Columbus and subsequently lost his apartment. He had no family to help him and is very shy and withdrawn. He had been staying at a homeless shelter in Columbus, but left because he was being threatened by other homeless men. He just started walking south, hoping to get a ride to the VA for help.
After his assessment, PICCA determined that Mark was eligible for their Transitional Housing program. PICCA’s Transitional Housing program houses homeless veterans transitioning from the streets into permanent housing. The program works with participants to set a course of action to help them become self-sufficient. They are provided with intensive case management services, including a comprehensive assessment that gives PICCA a baseline of what the veteran needs to live independently. PICCA then connects them with programs and services to reach their established goals. Throughout their stay, which typically lasts six to 12 months, residents give back to PICCA and the community by volunteering.
Mark became particularly involved volunteering with PICCA during his stay and became part of the PICCA family, becoming good friends with Joe the transitional housing coordinator as well. He also worked on an assembly line at the VA Medical Center and received a small stipend, of which he saved almost every penny.
By January 2012, Mark got a job as a security guard in Columbus. He used the money he had saved from his VA job to buy a small, dependable car to take him to work. After 12 months with PICCA, Mark moved into his own rental home in Circleville with another veteran he had befriended at the PICCA House. Together they share the cost of rent and continue to stop in at least once a month to visit their PICCA family.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer transitional housing programs.