Max no longer is a homeless veteran
Max didn't give up and found support through therapy, shelter, case management, and housing services provided at Brandon Hall.
When Max’s brother died in the Vietnam War, Max knew that he had to join the army honor of him. So in 1974 he enrolled as a “ground pounder.” After that honorable and difficult period of his life he worked as skilled wood worker on homes and buildings. And later on when he got older and developed a back injury he became involved with religion and helped others as a pastor. He enjoyed helping other people in that field of work and was always there for others.
But in 2011 Max made a mistake, as we all do, and he went to prison with a felony. However, he has a good attitude about his time in prison. In his own words, “Prison was the best thing that really ever happened in my life. Because previously I didn’t realize how far I had stretched myself out. Sitting in that prison cell gave me a lot of time to look God square in the face.”
After prison Max went to Brandon Hall, Volunteers of America of Indiana’s housing facility for homeless veterans and men transitioning out of the prison system. He attributes his time at Volunteers of America of Indiana (VOAIN) as serendipitous. “It was confirmed that he still had control in my life and He wasn’t through with me when I ran into my family here at VOA. VOA has been the hand of God in my life. They’ve showed me mercy and compassion and grace. They’ve embraced me in my good times and my bad times. And they’ve never let me down. And even knowing what I had done they welcomed me with open arms, encouraged me, and prayed with me. I’m not gonna say there hasn’t been bad moments here, but they have always taken care of everything.”
One reason why Max has had such a great experience at Brandon Hall is the great staff. Larcina Hicks was his first case manager who treated him like family and made him feel like he had value. Then he had Adam Hutton as a case manager who listened to him and was his mentor, friend, and confidant. He greatly appreciates the time and dedication that the VOA family gave and continues to give to him.
He has lived in Brandon Hall since 2013 and has used these past few years to heal and repair himself, emotionally and financially. Unfortunately he can’t work like he used to because of his permanent back injury. So he has been using his pension to pay off old loans to boost his credit score so that one day he can qualify for a VA Home Loan.
Max also received help from other agencies in Indianapolis. For example, Indiana Legal Services gave him pro-bono services to file for bankruptcy. And he set up a pre-paid loan account with Regions to pay off past debts. Max is very grateful for these services that will help him achieve financial security again.
At Brandon Hall he is very involved with other residents. He likes to give them spiritual guidance and support and he goes to religious services with the VA and interacts often with the Kimberly Barlow, our chaplain at Volunteers of America of Indiana. He has been able to gain a lot of knowledge about Veteran benefits and has distributed that knowledge to other residents. After Brandon Hall Max is seriously considering going back into evangelical work and becoming a minister.
Our Supportive Services for Veteran Families chapter in Indianapolis is currently working with him to help him find housing for his exit date in October of this year. Max has been rejected by 226 housing facilities on account of his felony, but he has not given up. And he knows that VOA will not kick him out on the streets and he will be able to find something else.
With full confidence in Volunteers of America of Indiana, he stated “I may have lost one family, but God blessed me with a whole new, large, family that goes nationwide. And I know that I can go anywhere in the nation. And I know that if I walk into a VOA facility that God’s waiting there for me with good people as His tools. And I’m thankful for that. I really am.”