This weekend, Aaron is enjoying a Father’s Day that’s been a long time coming.

Aaron served in the Marine Corps for 10 years.  He deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq five times, and was wounded in Iraq in 2006.  In 2012, Aaron graduated with his BS in Radiographic Science and moved to the Triangle to take a job with Duke Hospital.  He got married in March 2015, and was laid off later that year – the same year his first child was born.  After the layoff, Aaron and his wife lost their apartment and became homeless.  Aaron’s mother-in-law took in their daughter while Aaron and his wife lived in their storage unit.  In 2017, Aaron’s wife learned she was pregnant with their second child.  She was also arrested.  Aaron’s wife spent her pregnancy in prison while Aaron tried to figure out what to do.

“The hardest part of being homeless,” Aaron remembers, “was the hopelessness.  You can’t see a brighter day because you don’t have access to the basics – and without the basics of a secure place to live, you cannot begin the process of rebuilding.”

Aaron remained homeless until he was connected to CASA through the VA.  Earlier this year, he moved into a CASA community for veterans who have been homeless and are living with a disability.  He started working at a dry cleaners and has been promoted to Assistant Manager.

“Life is stable now,” Aaron says.  “Having a place to come home to every night has allowed me to focus on work, and I’ve been promoted three times this year.  Stability is so underrated.  I took it for granted for so long, until I didn’t have it.”

Aaron appreciates the community he has found in his new apartment.  “It can be nice to have a group of veterans around me who have struggled.  We have that in common and can lean on one another.”  His plans for the short term are to get his driver’s license and save up for a car.  In the longer term, Aaron is working on rebuilding his credit and hopes to become a homeowner, where his family can be reunited.

Happy Father’s Day, Aaron!