From CCPC Partner:
Housing Authority of Snohomish County (HASCO)
Both [my wife] Deni and I have been gainfully employed all our lives, raised 6 great kids, while Deni was a very successful Realtor in Washington and California, myself a construction project manager...
The VASH program has touched the lives of many homeless veterans. Miles’ success story is best heard in his own words:
“Both [my wife] Deni and I have been gainfully employed all our lives, raised 6 great kids, while Deni was a very successful Realtor in Washington and California, myself a construction project manager, Sheriff volunteer and motorcycle officer for the Washington State motorcade, until one fine day in August of 2007, while I was traveling (on duty) along in Edmonds with my emergency lights and sirens in use, when an impaired driver pulled out in front of me, leaving me nowhere to go but into and over a car, finally having my 800 lb. motorcycle land on me. I was taken to Stevens Hospital in Edmonds and then airlifted from there to Harborview Trauma Center in Seattle. I was in good hands and had my heart restarted a few times during the trip.
“Our savings and home were lost by mid-2009. Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (my particular case manager) wasn’t doing much for me even though I begged! We became homeless and began our lives living in a garage. Deni worked as much as she could, commuting from Mukilteo to Tukwila daily. I did my best between surgeries and counseling. It wasn’t long before we felt hopeless, carless (it died) and jobless, yet we struggled on with smiles and thanks to those who tried to help us. The economy and the housing market fell, leaving Deni without other work.
“Late in 2011, Labor and Industries fired my case manager and took notice of the situation I was in through no fault of my own. Still, we were living in the cold but had food assistance and a small income. So much had hit us over the time that had passed since the…accident. We were depressed and felt very little self-worth.
“It was October of 2011 and out of total desperation that I took a two-hour bus ride to the Housing Authority of Snohomish County [office] in Everett. Upon arriving I climbed an interior stairway to the second floor and a friendly face behind a large glass window. The receptionist was busy and on the telephone explaining to someone that the HUD housing list was about three years out, but that they would be wise to fill out an application and get on the list. I smiled and began my descent back to hopelessness again when I heard the kindest voice ask me if she (the receptionist) might help me?
“It was about 10:30, the sun had just shown through the windows of the small reception area and I felt pretty good because of the peace I felt from behind the glass. I walked up to the window and politely said that I’d overheard the conversation she’d just completed and understood. She asked me to tell her a little bit about my situation. I did, and was asked to take a seat for a few minutes. After no more than five minutes, I was greeted by [VASH Clinician] Chris Horner, who immediately made me feel welcome, upbeat, and deserving of the help I was about to be given.
“After several days the support documents I needed were given to me by [the Housing Authority]. We were approved for housing assistance and were able to secure an apartment, a home, before Christmas. For us, just short of a miracle.
“My wife and I are so thankful for the sincere, professional and compassionate manner that HASCO and VASH have shown us through these two extraordinary ladies, Chris and [Housing Coordinator] Phyllis.”