From Being Helped to Being a Helper

Nov. 9th, 2023

Jerry is a Coast Guard veteran who served from 1993 to 1997 and was honorably discharged. He first came to Operation Dignity in September of 2022 after experiencing a 6-month period of homelessness where he lived in motels for as long as he could afford them and then eventually lived in his car. During this period, he spent all of the savings that he had been putting aside in his 401-K account and ran up maximum balances on his credit cards. After repeated attempts to find temporary housing failed, he found Operation Dignity online and was determined to meet the criteria to be placed in housing.

Jerry became a resident at our Dignity Commons property on the former Naval base in Alameda. Once housed at Dignity Commons, Jerry began working on a personalized service plan with his onsite case manager, Janeen Hendon. […] In addition to working with residents on preparing for and securing permanent housing, a service plan may include job search support, connection to educational opportunities, benefits advocacy, referrals to physical and mental health care, support accessing substance abuse programs, life and financial skills building, and more, based on each veteran’s unique needs and goals.

Janeen says, “As soon as I met Jerry I knew he was determined and ambitious, and would stay on course.”

By setting and sticking to incremental goals, Jerry has been able to work hard, save money, pay down his debts and improve his credit score. When he came to Operation Dignity, his credit score was 448 and as of August 2023 when he left to move into his own apartment, it was up to 775.  Additionally, Jerry is employed as a Critical care support technician at Children’s hospital in Oakland and has been preparing for the State Board of Nursing Exam.

Of his time at Operation Dignity, Jerry says, “The staff is awesome. The care the staff puts in is just great! Janeen and Mary Elise rock!”

Congratulations to Jerry on using the housing and support that Operation Dignity provides to overcome his prior difficulties and move forward with renewed purpose and a mission to help others. We wish him much success!