Woodrow celebrates new life

July 23, 2019

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Woodrow came to Spokane in April 2018. An honorably discharged Army veteran, Woodrow found himself homeless. He left his younger sister in Tennessee with her adopted family to find a better life for himself on the west coast.

Woodrow now enjoys his job at a national park

Initially, life was better for him. Woodrow found the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program in the middle of April and had housing by the beginning of May.

Wishing to share his success, Woodrow brought in a roommate, someone he had met while he was homeless. This roommate talked him into moving into a better apartment in Spokane Valley. So at the end of June, Woodrow got out of his month-to-month lease, packed up, and turned in his keys.

In the chaos of moving, something went terribly wrong. Woodrow’s roommate dropped him off at the Union Gospel Mission Shelter on the way to the new apartment. He lost all of his belongings and his housing all in one day.

With no transportation and only 20 dollars to his name, Woodrow reported to his SSVF case manager at Goodwill.

His case manager connected him to other organizations who helped him get back on his feet. He entered transitional housing through Volunteers of America in July 2018.

In October, Woodrow was granted a HUD-VASH voucher. Woodrow, SSVF, and Healthcare for Homeless Veterans, worked together to find a unit that would meet the housing requirements of that voucher, and get all the appropriate paperwork together. It took a week to pull all of this together. By November, Woodrow was in stable housing again. SNAP helped with a deposit, and Woodrow moved into a one bedroom apartment in Cheney.

Throughout the program, SSVF provided financial assistance with a move-in kit, a bed, a utility deposit, a driver’s license, interview clothes, and rental assistance.

The day after Woodrow was housed, he mentioned that he fell asleep on the floor after he locked the door because it was the first time he felt secure in a while. He knew that no one was going to walk in on him. When he was able, he would hike through the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge, which was near to his home. There is nothing like the independence of being able to decide when or how long you will leave to go for a hike or camp and to know that your home will be there when you return.

Woodrow appreciates the partnership between the homeless services in the Spokane community and would share his positive outcome with people who were experiencing homelessness in the hope that they would access these services themselves.

In March 2019, Woodrow left Spokane and headed east to work as a cook. He now works at the Mural Room in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. They also provide him lodging with a small cut from his paycheck.

"Working again changed everything." Woodrow considers the work as therapy and after work, he hikes, which he said makes 'life a wonderful thing again."

Woodrow said, "With the care and help from [Goodwill's SSVF program], I have found myself in the best place in years: happy. If you work really hard and focus on what you truly want, truly need, everything will be [all right] and so will you."