A Program Success Story in Ending Veteran Homelessness
VA Programs Help Army Veteran “Move” From Homelessness to Business Owner
Greg's Story | July 7, 2015
A single day's work can be transformative for any Veteran, especially one fighting his way back from homelessness and addiction. Greg knows this because he is a Veteran and was once in need of not only a well-paying job but a safe place to live. He got both with help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and formed his company, Veterans Moving Help, to provide the dignity of work to other Veterans.
His journey wasn't easy. For two decades he fought an addiction to alcohol and drugs, including crack cocaine. Connections to family, including my daughter, frayed. He was homeless, living in abandoned homes or shelters. Time after time, he vowed to be a better father to his daughter. He wanted to get clean, but couldn't break the cycle.
One day a fellow Veteran who'd faced similar struggles came back to Greg’s neighborhood from a VA substance use treatment center. He was sober and healthy and now owned a car.
He inspired Greg to seek help from VA, and Greg enrolled in a 60-day substance use inpatient program run by the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System. He was also set up in bridge housing funded by VA's Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program. Having a safe, stable place to live gave him the peace of mind to focus on his skills as an entrepreneur. While there, he had access to a number of other VA resources, including business management training and dental care.
Safely housed and healthy, Greg got the idea to focus on a career in moving services. He started by taking a job advertised on Craigslist. Along with a few of the homeless Veterans he was living with in the bridge housing, he loaded and unloaded some self-service moving trucks.
As demand for these services grew, and as more and more people in the community heard about the opportunity to hire Veteran movers, Greg formed a national company called Veterans Moving Help. This growing business connects those who request moving services to majority-Veteran moving crews. Greg was honored recently to move a 92-year-old World War II Veteran who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen "Red Tails" fighter squadron.
With help from VA, Greg overcame homelessness, is a business owner and is now in a position to hire Veterans.
Greg’s ability to form Veterans Moving Help fulfilled his lifelong goal to become a business owner and keep his work in the military and Veteran family. He hopes his story inspires other Veterans to keep striving, even when success seems impossible, because dreams really can come true.