Who We Serve
 

It's not difficult to understand how someone like Ruben could end up homeless. He's only 25 years old. He was young when he went into the service out of high school.After 4 years of military service and war, he was honorably discharged for medical reasons, walking with the aid of a cane and struggling with depression and PTSD from his combat service in Afghanistan. "The military breaks you down to build you up and it works for what you are doing in wartime but once you are back in the real world, it's confusing," he says. "The infantry doesn't train you well for the job market."

Ending up homeless he describes as a "very dehumanizing factor."

After a suicide attempt and stay in a VA program, he entered Hope for Veterans where he has been for the past year. "I desperately needed to come here and be able to transition back to civilian life," he confides. "As veterans we support each other. We're a community. It's an environment where people understand each other."

He attributes his Community Hope case managers with "helping me feel human again. They are not patronizing or false. They are sincere in wanting to help you and there is always an open door. I can just stop by to chat with my case manager. When I first came here, I asked them to set me up with a therapist who I see weekly and it's good to get things off your chest."

In September, Ruben is starting school for art, his first time in college. His self-taught illustrations reveal an amazing talent. His focus is on his art, his medical treatment and gaining his independence. "I understand that I have to take my time here so I don't return, so I make it on my own."

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