Mike Blog Header Veteran Homelessness

“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?

Navigating Solutions for Veteran Homelessness

At the tail end of the pandemic’s height, a compassionate Solano County doctor introduced Michael to an organization called Nation’s Finest. Serving Veterans across California, Arizona and Nevada for over 50 years, Nation’s Finest provides Veterans with a comprehensive approach to housing, health and employment.

Within days of meeting Lisa Hoff, a Nation’s Finest case manager in Solano County, Michael was placed into their GPD (grant per diem) program and off of the streets. “You treated me with respect and dignity and made me believe in myself again,” Michael wrote to Lisa and the Nation’s Finest team. “You helped me stand tall when I didn’t think I could.”

With four walls, a roof, and a strong support system behind him, Michael made swift strides towards overcoming his myriad of obstacles. “My health began to improve almost immediately,” Michael explained. “I went from struggling, to standing, to walking, and even returning to the gym.” With a Nation’s Finest referral, Michael began receiving mental health support for his PTSD and depression as well. 

The Veteran’s persistence paid off. With Nation’s Finest helping him with his security deposit and providing beds for him and his children, Michael moved into his own home. “We secured a perfect three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in a beautiful neighborhood,” Michael said. “My life transformed 180 degrees, and I owe it all to them (and their) remarkable social programs designed to assist Veterans like me.”

NF Honoring Veterans

Helping Veterans in Solano County

With a brand new office in Vacaville, the Nation’s Finest team is furthering its commitment to Veterans in smaller communities like Solano County. “We go out into the community to talk with people who are struggling,” Lisa Hoff explained. “We listen to their story and help them however we can with housing, rent payments, employment, and other needs.” 

To help us continue to provide essential services to Veterans like Michael in underserved communities, please consider donating to Nation’s Finest. Your donations give the gift of hope to our country’s heroes and their families.