A Formerly Homeless Veteran's Story

A Formerly Homeless Veteran's Story

U.S. Army veteran and father of four Dustin Darcy never gave much thought to the homelessness problem in L.A. County until the day he and his family became another statistic.

 “I didn’t see many homeless people in my area so I had no opinion of them; I couldn’t relate,” he said. “Until it happened to us, I didn’t realize how quickly everything you work for can just disappear without warning.”

Five months after relocating to California, Dustin and his wife Cathy were suddenly forced to leave her relative’s home in Bellflower – the family of six had nowhere to live.

 They drifted from one hotel to the next and eventually found themselves spending the night at a public park in Lakewood.

 “It’s the worst feeling in the world to have your children looking up at you and asking, ‘Daddy, when are we gonna go home?’” he said. “To not be able to explain that there isn’t one to go to is awful.”

Fortunately, a local United Way partner was standing by, ready to help.

Our Place Housing Solutions not only supplied a list of affordable housing options but first month’s rent and security deposit, allowing the Darcys to move into a new home stress-free.

Dustin and his family are now back on track: “My wife’s got a full-time job, I’m earning a Business Management degree at WyoTech and the kids are happy to have a place of their own. We’re finally moving forward,” he said.

And according to the agency’s Homeless Outreach Coordinator, Kimberly Barnette, teamwork was what made it all possible.

“United Way is an integral part of our ongoing efforts to end chronic and veteran homelessness,” she said. “Their advocacy campaign encourages government leaders, religious organizations and community members to change current policies. They have the tools and resources to support partners like us in assisting our homeless neighbors.”

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