Colleen, an Air Force veteran, didn’t even know what PTSD was until she was diagnosed with it. “There is so much frustration when your brain doesn’t work right. You see where you used to be and how capable you were,” she says. “Now I can’t do any of those things.” Struggling with her marriage and job, Colleen found herself in debt and overwhelmed with the world around her. Before long, she was homeless and part of an unfortunate national trend of homelessness. Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless veteran population today.
The number of female veterans experiencing homelessness has tripled in the last few years and is projected to continue to rise in coming years. Genesis Joy House Homeless Shelter, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to ending this trend in Georgia, which is home to 93,000 female veterans. Genesis is in the final stages of a transitional housing facility in Middle Georgia that will provide critical mental health counseling and support; and life and vocational skills training for our country’s female veterans.
This transitional housing facility will support a rotating group of female homeless veterans for a 90-120-day program, offering in-depth support to guide female veterans into independence. Each resident will work full time and attend job- and life-skills training. Upon graduation, each veteran will have a full-time job and permanent housing.
In addition to the transitional housing facility for female veterans, Genesis operates a 24-hour homeless hotline for veterans—male and female—who are struggling with homelessness or are on the brink of homelessness. To date, Genesis has helped over 20 thousand veterans find the resources they need to get back on their feet.
For Christina, the people at Genesis helped her go to college and obtain her bachelor’s degree. “Nobody wants to say, ‘I can’t put a roof over my head. I need help clothing my children.’ Genesis helps bring you to the next level you need in order to be able to stand on your own,” she says. Today, Christina is a homeowner who is about to enter Officer Training School.
For Yolanda, Genesis was the resource she needed to help her get a civilian job and access her VA benefits after she left the military. “They will really help you as long as you are willing to help yourself,” she says.
Genesis’ job program has placed over 100 homeless female veterans into on-the-job training programs transitioning them into full-time civilian employment through a partnership with the Middle Georgia Consortium and the Georgia Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Services.
Genesis helped Colleen navigate the often times complicated waters of VA benefits which allowed her to receive the mental and physical health care she needs to start on the road to recovery.
At this facility female homeless veterans will receive:
● Vocational Rehabilitation, Career Development, and Job Readiness Training
● Personal Development Planning and Life Skills Training
● Independent Living Preparation and Tenant Education
● Financial Responsibility and Consumer Education
● PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, and Trauma Recovery
● Substance Abuse Recovery
● Emotional Health Counseling
● Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
● Parenting and Family Reunification
The goal for Colleen— and every homeless veteran Genesis serves—is to become self-sufficient and productive members of society again. With funding through the CFC campaign, that goal can become an achievable reality.