U.S. Rep. Adams visits homeless center for veterans in Winston-Salem

U.S. Rep. Adams visits homeless center for veterans in Winston-Salem
May 28
00:00 2015

In photo above: U.S. Rep. Alma S. Adams (NC-12) talks with Marques Ford, senior lead case manager. Adams shared lunch with homeless veterans on Friday, May 22 in Winston-Salem. (Photo by Erin Mizelle for the Winston-Salem Chronicle)

By Erin Mizelle
For The Chronicle

On the morning of Friday, May 22, and on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, U.S. Rep. Alma S. Adams (NC-12) was nowhere to be found that one might expect — she wasn’t in a secured meeting room in Washington, D.C., and she wasn’t off working on her recently announced amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), recommending improved medical care for service members with PTSD and mental health disorders.

She was, instead, where it mattered most, side-by-side with the ones who have fought day-in and day-out for our freedom.
Adams was with the veterans.

For over two hours, she walked and talked with everyday heroes, right in the midst of Winston-Salem, during a tour of the Veterans Helping Veterans Heal (VHVH) Center, at 3614 Glenn Ave.

Veterans Helping Veterans Heal, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans, is a two-year residential program for male veterans in Forsyth County that provides shelter, life-skill and financial literacy training for those in need to become self-sufficient through the help of caseworkers, like senior lead case manager Marques Ford.

“I tell my staff, ‘Don’t work harder than the vet; it is their life and their plan,’ and we try to hold everyone accountable to that,” Ford said. “Ultimately, if the vets are going to be successful, they have to buy into their own life. But, if they are willing, I will walk hand-in-hand with them through their journey and help get them to a better place than when they came in.”
Adams needed to look no farther than across the table to find all the affirmation she needed.

“After a workforce reduction, I lost my house, my job, and my marriage – all within one month. I ended up being homeless for five or six years. Ever since that time when I first came here (to VHVH), I have been getting better and better, and a lot of it is because the staff here is so hopeful. They helped me get my life back together,” said Mark McCray, SS, which means he served on a submarine.
“I have learned how to reach out to people who are there for me to help me through these things, these challenges that I face on a regular basis,” said Charles Hinnant, U.S. Army. “I have a great support system here — I always thought the streets were helping but, but they weren’t at all. I have a lot of people on my side that I never knew I had, and I appreciate the VHVH for every thing they have ever done for me.”

After the grace was given and the lunch was finished, Adams and her staff left the Veterans Helping Veterans Heal center with an even greater appreciation for those who serve our country, saying numerous times how much she appreciated the words and stories shared with her on that special tour with several of the over 37,000 veterans in North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District.

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