“I didn’t think it would happen to me,” said Mr. Alvin Hill. It is a common refrain for people when first facing homelessness. That thought is what occurred to Mr. Hill six years ago when he first faced this harsh reality. The last thing Hill, who is a veteran, expected was to find himself living on the streets. He did everything in his power to avoid it.
In 1983, Mr. Hill was discharged from the Army after serving four years. He served an additional year in the DC National Guard and then began doing odd jobs to make a living. He drove trucks and a limo. He later worked a couple years with Catholic Charities when they opened a shelter on New York Avenue. “That’s how I knew about homelessness.” But when Mr. Hill lost his job, he could no longer afford his rent. Without income, he lost his housing and slept on friends’ sofas to avoid living on the streets. That gradually led to Mr. Hill sleeping at shelters, on benches at Metro stops and even spending some nights at the airport to avoid the bad weather outside.
In 2013, while working with a Veterans Affairs outreach center, he was directed to A-SPAN as a candidate for a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher. With the help of his case manager, he applied for and received a voucher. And on Monday, March 31st, he signed a lease and received the keys to his apartment. Since then, he has completed a training course in Building Maintenance and plans to attend night school for HVAC.
Mr. Hill was the lead speaker for the 100,000 Homes Media Event held on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 11th. At the event, Community Solutions announced that the campaign has housed 101,628 chronically homeless individuals including over 30,000 veterans.