For Neville Medley, June 23 will be anything but a normal day.
“I am expecting to sign my lease for an apartment in Lawrence,” he said. “It has been 20 years since I could say I have an apartment with my name on the lease. It will be a great day for me.”
A veteran, Medley credited Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC) for helping him turn his dream into a reality. He is a recent graduate of VNOC’s Transition in Place (TIP) program.
“Once I was accepted into TIP, I made up my mind that I would do whatever they required,” he said. “This program helped provide me with stability.”
According to Rachel Hagen, who manages TIP, the services within the program are designed to address root causes of homelessness. These services, she explained, work only when participants are motivated to succeed.
“We do not offer handouts,” she said. “We help veterans set goals and develop the skills to achieve them,” she said. “As they progress through the program, they assume more of the costs associated with their housing. They transition out of the program.”
When a veteran like Medley graduates from TIP, she said the end result is often life-changing.
“Honestly, this is why I do my job, so I can see veterans like Neville take the next step forward in their lives,” she said. “June 23 will be a great day both of us.”
Expressing excitement for the future, Medley said VNOC staff were “professional” from the time he entered the program and “went above and beyond” to ensure his success.
“To other veterans out there who are serious about getting clean and sober and having a decent place to live, then I say VNOC is where you want to be,” he said. “Local organizations need to reach out to organizations like VNOC, because they are helping veterans move on to greatness.”