Nearly everyone in the Veterans Administration hospital theater had lived on the streets.
All veterans, Army, and Marines or in Anne Hatfield’s case the Navy.
She never thought she had anything to worry about until she lost her job a few years ago and then had to go to the hospital.
“That health crisis led to me becoming homeless,” Hatfield said. “My unemployment had run out from my previous job and my search for a job during that period was somewhat lackluster because I had untreated depression.”
It happens, after surviving the Armed Forces, home can be a jungle filled with depression, drugs, despair.
Vervin Moses was in the Army when he came home his life fell apart.
“Oh, I had quite a few troubles,” he said. “I didn’t know there was a drug epidemic here, and I fell into that web.”
There is a way to get out of that life if you can call it life.
This is a graduation ceremony for 81 men and women veterans who finished what is known as the HUD/VASH program.
They have to quit alcohol, quit drugs, and they have to be living in their own home for at least a year, If they do that they’ve graduated.
For these men and women who have fought overseas for us and fought on the streets of Memphis to survive, this is a second chance.
“These men and women served us,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, “And now its our time to serve them, and that’s what this program is all about.”
Since this program has been in effect, more than 430 veterans have found permanent housing. The program will continue, because the fighting and wars continue.