Five short years ago, Herbert was an average middle-class American living in the suburbs in Tennessee. The Navy veteran had 40 years of experience in theatre set design and technical directing, which provided full-time contract work with good, steady pay. Like many other people, the turbulent economy hit too close to home, causing Herbert to lose his theatre contract and be forced to join the ranks of millions of other unemployed Americans.
Unemployment took a particularly rough toll on Herbert, and before long, extreme depression sank in. Herbert soon moved to Dallas to live with family, but when that didn’t work out, he found himself still unemployed and homeless.
Herbert lived in a Dallas shelter for two years while working in the VA Hospital’s Transitional Work Experience program for a small hourly wage. Shelter life proved especially difficult for Herbert, who at that time was 61 years old. It had been so difficult, in fact, that he was in utter disbelief when he was accepted into the Permanent Housing Services program in late 2009.
Herbert’s case worker describes him as “intelligent and agreeable, with a high probability of success.” Although Herbert is currently working part-time in retail, he is anxious to return to the VA and eventually to his true love: the theatre.
But for now, for the first time in a long time, Herbert lives in decent, affordable, and permanent housing.