This letter is to explain how I found myself in a very unfortunate situation and how the team of Tampa Crossroads helped me overcome this part of my life. I am a veteran of the Navy. I served from September of 2003 to September 2007 on board an aircraft carrier. I had a wonderful career. After my military career, I came back to Florida to be closer to my family. I started my studies at the University of South Florida. I used the Montgomery G.I Bill to cover the cost of going to school as well as my living expenses. At the end of July 2011, I had used all my benefits and found that my part-time job at the university was not enough to sustain a household. I spent the nights in my vehicle.
“I did not want to sacrifice taking away time from school so I continued to sleep in my vehicle.”
As time progressed and the school year approaches I did not want to sacrifice taking away time from school so I continued to sleep in my vehicle for the entirety of the semester. I sought help through the VA center on North 46th Street, Tampa. I spoke with Michelle, a very nice person who explained my options for obtaining ways to get back into housing. She put me in contact with Justin Baker at Tampa crossroads, who became my case manager for the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Project (VHPD).
“Justin worked hard to quickly get everything I needed to get into housing. … In the meantime, Rhonda … was assisting me with making a financial plan … (and) job placement.”
Justin worked hard to quickly get everything I needed to get into housing. I was temporarily placed in a hotel until I found a suitable apartment. After a couple of weeks of searching, I found a place that was both acceptable for me and Tampa Crossroads. In the meantime, Rhonda Lewis who works in the Veterans Employment Network Program (VEN) was assisting me with making a financial plan to ensure this would not happen again. She also provided several weeks of counsel to help me regain confidence, a more positive outlook on my situation, and other solutions to get back on my feet, including job placement. The encouragement and care they provided was welcoming and comforting. I knew that everyone has the best interest in making sure a got back into a stable self-sufficient lifestyle. I am very grateful for all the help every member of Tampa Crossroads provided. I want to thank all the staff who work very hard in all the programs Tampa Crossroads provides to ensure there is one less veteran on the street.