Veteran battled homelessness, now has a profession encouraging other individuals

After years of overall health concerns, addiction, and homelessness, Navy Veteran Dawn Densel is healthier, has steady housing and operates for the federal government, thanks to VA and its many programs for Veterans enduring homelessness.

Densel, who joined the Navy in 1992, was a person of the to start with females to provide in a naval mobile design battalion. She was honorably discharged from the military in 1996 mainly because of a shoulder harm.

Upon returning home, Densel began operating in regulation enforcement. But habit and wellness difficulties led her to resign after just one particular year.

“I was severely frustrated when I bought out,” claimed Densel. “There’s items you have to worry about that you didn’t have to get worried about in the military services, like shelter, food stuff and health care. You also get rid of the relatives atmosphere that you had in the armed forces.”

In early 2017, Densel checked herself into the VA Psychosocial Household Rehabilitation Procedure method in Biloxi to assistance her get sober. Immediately after completing treatment, Densel entered Harbor Dwelling, a transitional living facility in Pensacola to proceed her journey of having her existence again on observe. At Harbor Residence, Densel achieved Mary Franklin, a Local community Employment Coordinator who would become her cheerleader and eventual colleague. Immediately after graduating from Harbor House, Densel finished two supplemental VA homeless courses that gave her the tools, means, and assist she necessary to begin setting up the life and profession she experienced envisioned for herself.

“Dawn went through our Housing and City Growth-VA Supportive Housing method, the Grant and For each Diem system, and the HCHV program,” explained Jodie Picciano-Swanson, the Homeless Program manager. “Dawn experienced potent ambitions and attained them with the assist of our supportive team, but she was the true driving power.”

Homeless packages offer you a model-new commence

Densel’s profession at VA started in April 2019 when she was employed by the Pensacola VA Joint Ambulatory Treatment Center, exactly where she was just one of quite number of women working with the Environmental Management Support (EMS). Just after only 10 months, Densel was honored as “Rookie of the 12 months,” for her superb do the job. After a calendar year in her preliminary posture, she was promoted — not to EMS guide, which would have been the next step up, but two steps up — to supervisor of EMS for the Mobile Outpatient Clinic at Gulf Coastline Veterans Health Care Process.

“I’m not ashamed of any portion of my journey. I have been clean and sober due to the fact 2017,” stated Densel. “These plans have really helped me get back again on my ft. Devoid of VA’s homeless applications, I would not be on my way to perform appropriate now for a govt position.”

Densel now allows Veterans who are taking part in Mobile homeless packages when working in EMS. As somebody who has absent by many homeless applications and started out her federal career doing the job in EMS, Densel is equipped to relate to and inspire these Veterans each and every day.

“A objective of mine is to turn out to be a peer guidance expert,” reported Densel. “I’m a people today man or woman I could communicate to a fence submit. I’ve also struggled with habit and authorized challenges, and with all of that blended with wherever I am right now, I come to feel like I could genuinely adjust the life of other Veterans.”

Additional info

Jodie Picciano-Swanson, LCSW, ACSW is the homeless system supervisor for the Gulf Coast Veterans Healthcare Technique and is the acting network homeless coordinator for Veterans Built-in Assistance Network 16.