One Veteran’s Story: Donnie of Chattanooga

You’ll be helping folks like Donnie:

Donnie, a veteran who served in the Army National Guard, was living in the woods in Chattanooga for over 6 years. When he was lucky, he’d get an old tent or even a sleeping bag to use for a few weeks at a time, but inevitably the tent would start to leak or tear or — sometimes, even be stolen. Donnie lived day to day, occasionally getting meals at the Community Kitchen or a local church, but more often by finding partially eaten meals outside of restaurants. Donnie is a smart, kind, generous person who, once knocked off his feet, simply couldn’t find solid ground again.

Donnie worked odd jobs, but with no access to showers or transportation, struggled to get to work on time or to look and feel presentable. After 6 years of this life, Donnie’s fiancé urged and encouraged him to find help for both of them. By this time, both had started to hear about the veteran initiative that was helping veterans get into permanent housing in a matter of months, sometimes weeks.

Donnie used the phone at the Community Kitchen to get in touch with the Homeless Program Coordinator at the City of Chattanooga. He met with a Veteran Outreach Specialist, and together they created a housing plan. Donnie and his fiancé are now living in a home that they love and no longer have to pray each night that the tent won’t leak or that it will still be there after a day of looking for food. Donnie isn’t just in a home but in a safe haven that allows him time to focus on other aspects of his life now like seeking full time employment and getting back to hobbies he has always loved. Donnie is regularly receiving the support he needs in order to help him find ways to pay for medication, to receive aid such as food stamps and to start looking for work. These are the steps that will help keep Donnie and his fiance securely housed for years to come.

Folks who fought for our country shouldn’t have to fight for a roof over their head and because of people like you stepping up, over 220 homeless veterans now have a home — and just 38 remain.  

Join us Veterans Day Weekend for the Veterans Supplies & Action Day to help us end veteran homelessness by the end of the year.