Moving on is bittersweet, as they say. There are things I’m looking forward to in my new opportunity, and also things I will miss as I leave TLC. I began working in the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF) as the Case Manger in October 2013, and although I worked in Social Services for many years, I never worked with people who were literally homeless. People who had no place to call home, take a shower, cook a meal or use bathroom facilities whenever they needed to.
One of the first veterans I worked with was living on the streets for months. He carried everything he owned in a pack on his back. He had nowhere to leave it, so it went everywhere with him… to community meals, doctors’ appointments, CareerLink, my office, etc. I remember thinking how stressful life must be for him and how great it would be when he could finally put his pack down.
Well...that day came. It wasn’t permanent housing yet, but it was the break he needed. There was a room available at TLC in the Veteran’s Victory House (VVH), and I will never forget the first time I saw him after he moved in. He came off the elevator, and I stared at him for a second because everything about him was different. He looked like he had had a good night’s sleep. He was showered. He told me that he had made a sandwich and how much he liked having his own bathroom. AND, there was no pack.
Everything about this 30-second observation encapsulated what I had learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and it meant something new to me in that moment. Helping people meet their basic needs is the first thing that happens here at TLC. People get a place to rest and something to eat; important things, because when they start the work of regaining stability, it takes strength.
There’s a good group of people at TLC, both staff and volunteers, that walk alongside the participants that come here. I have really loved being part of the team and the camaraderie that resulted when we worked together to meet the challenges of housing our veterans. It’s a good place that does good work, and I’ll miss it!
Dominique Miller - Former SSVF Case Manager