PFC US Army Veteran, Military Police Corp, 561st Military Police Company, Fort Meyer, VA 1981-84 Occupation: Medical Supply Technician
A native Long Islander, Jeffrey left Sayville, New York for Fort Meyer, Virginia when he joined the US Army. Jeffrey returned to Long Island and cared for his elderly grandmother. Finances were tight, but upon his grandmother’s passing, Jeffrey was left without a permanent home for five years. He was fortunate to stay with friends for extended periods of time, but it was not a way to live comfortably. Jeffrey’s lifestyle was taxing on his mental health, as he explains, "It was a lot of emotional dealing with my anxiety and my PTSD, trying to deal with that.” His service dog, Romeo, alleviated emotional stress, but Jeffrey was still in need of a house to call home.
In 2018 Jeffrey was introduced, through a friend, to United Veterans Beacon House, a community partner agency of United Way of Long Island. Through this connection, Jeffrey now lives in one of United Way of Long Island’s national award-winning Zero-Energy Ready, healthy homes. The house includes state-of-the art, energy efficient features - including hospital-grade filtered air, solar energy, occupant-sensored lights and non-toxic materials - but the best house feature is the peace it’s given Jeffrey.
Reflecting on his formerly nomadic lifestyle, Jeffrey notes, “You don't realize what it is to have a coat and not have a place to hang it up. [This house] reminds me of my home where I grew up with my mom and dad. We had the big house and every kid had their own room. There was plenty of room to play, there was room for the dog, somebody cooking.”
Just over a year since moving in, Jeffrey is prioritizing a healthy mind and healthy body. The house, itself, has helped improve Jeffrey’s COPD and asthma by providing continuous clean airflow. Jeffrey’s daily ritual with Romeo promotes mental well-being: “I come home from work. The first thing I do is lay on the side of my bed, feed Romeo, put my feet up. I do a 10 minute decompression. I don't hear beeping of cars. I don't hear banging and clanking.” The stability and serenity of Jeffrey’s new living space has even motivated him to quit smoking, and he has set goals to reduce to his sugar and red meat intake this year.
“I've had nothing but continued support from United Way and Veterans Beacon House. I'm just amazed that I'm living like this.”
Here’s to a healthy home and a healthy mind, body and soul!
Jeffrey’s home was built by United Way of Long Island and is managed, owned and supported by United Veterans Beacon House, a non-profit housing agency dedicated to providing veterans and their families housing and wrap-around supportive services. Jeffrey is part of United Veterans Beacon House’s permanent supportive housing program which provides the structure needed for veterans to maintain independence.
United Veterans Beacon Houseis a community partner agency of United Way of Long Island and provides emergency assistance to financially struggling veterans and their families including rent, utilities, food, and transportation costs. The agency offers case management and screens veterans to connect them to eligible supportive services including veterans' benefits, VA treatment, housing and job training opportunities.