“In the darkest of times, life can throw unimaginable challenges at you.” – Michael
Veteran Homelessness in Solano County
Vacaville, California is the midpoint between the Bay Area and Sacramento. Compared to those nearby metropolises, Solano County, where Vacaville is located, is often overlooked by the rest of Northern California. Vacaville, however, struggles with many of the issues affecting low-income citizens in those better known areas.
This is especially true in Vacaville’s Veteran Community. More than 8% of Vacaville’s 100,000 residents are Veterans, a statistic that Solano County is proud of. One statistic that Solano County residents are less proud of centers around homelessness. In 2022, it was estimated that there were 1,179 people living in shelters or on the streets in Solano County.
Veteran Physical and Mental Health Obstacles
Michael is a disabled Marine Corps Veteran residing in Solano County. He was deployed seven times from 1979-1987 as a sharpshooter, and is one of the many Solano County residents that grappled with housing instability following the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Michael fell into a downward spiral. He confronted physical challenges such as COVID-19 and a heart attack. The following year, he received a devastating diagnosis: prostate cancer. “As a type 2 diabetic,” Michael explained, “my health deteriorated rapidly.” Shortly after, Michael found himself homeless on the streets of Solano County.
While Michael faced a myriad of physical health challenges, his mind contended with its own set of internal struggles. Throughout the early 2020s, Michael suffered from a deep depression. The saying “time heals all wounds” does not hold true for the scars that many Veterans find themselves living with daily. Despite the years separating Michael from service, his depression worsened as it does for so many who’ve served. “I contemplated ending it all,” Michael recalled, “but a call from my 32-year-old son saved my life.”
Michael made a stand and committed himself to turning his life around. But how can even the strongest individuals make that turn in Michael’s situation? How can a person overcome the variety of physical, mental and financial barriers that Michael had standing before him?