Air Force Veteran Jimmy Moore spent too many nights living on the streets of Birmingham. For almost five years winters and summers alike would find him in a daily battle to find food, to find shelter, longing for a regular meal and a warm place to spend the night. What he remembers the most was being frustrated and fearful, always having to look over his shoulder to make sure no one was coming after him or his few belongings. He had little contact with family; he especially missed his two grandsons who lived far away in the State of Indiana.
When he finally got off the streets and into long term housing, he was ecstatic for his new-found treasure: A place that provided the peace and quiet that was never available at the shelters or on the street; the one apartment that he immaculately maintains so his two grandsons are comfortable when they visit him.
Jimmy Moore’s transition off homelessness came as a result of collaborative effort between HUD, the Veteran’s Administration (VA), the housing authority, and participating local non-profits united under Operation Reveille. The purpose of Operation Reveille was to bring all the services that homeless veterans may need to break the cycle of homelessness and secure permanent housing, all coordinated the same day under one roof.
Moore participated in the first Birmingham Operation Reveille a couple of years ago. He was one-of thirty-three veterans who were pre-screened, ready and qualified for permanent housing. The combination of a housing voucher and supportive services, known as HUD VASH, were key to his new chapter in life. HUD VASH vouchers are set aside at local housing authorities for the exclusive use by homeless veterans referred by the local VA medical center in the area. The voucher is funded by HUD, administered by the local housing authority, and the VA provides the wrap around counseling and social services that veterans may need to be successful in their long-term goals.
Moore now volunteers at each of the Operation Reveille events every year. He shares his experience and helps those are still struggling. His message to them is “You have to decide if you want help and you are willing to make changes to live better.” He radiates peace, and the Veterans are listening.