Sandra lives in a CASA community built especially for veterans who have experienced homelessness and are living with disabilities. She has lived in her CASA apartment since 2015. In those five years, she’s never experienced anything quite like 2020.
“The hardest part is being isolated,” Sandra says. “We have to change the way we do things. I pretty much stay to myself right now. Confinement is hard. Before I used to go out a lot more. Now I’ve just cut that down until we see what happens. I hope we have a vaccine soon.”
“The good thing,” she continues, “is I have a roof over my head. I hope I never have to be homeless again.” Sandra is especially grateful to be living in a development with the neighbors she has gotten to know. Her CASA community is “like living in a little bubble,” she says. “We’re all careful and we look out for each other.” Her best friend lives a few doors away. “Sometimes if I see her outside I’ll yell out the window,” she laughs. If they don’t visit outside, they check in via text every day. Without a community of people she knows well, Sandra thinks that things would be unbearably lonely right now. She hasn’t seen her children or grandchildren since the beginning of the pandemic. “Family is really important to me,” she acknowledges. Her apartment is full of pictures of her four adult children and eight grandchildren, scattered around the country. It’s hard not to see them in person, but they keep up by phone and on Facebook.
Sandra really misses opportunities to gather with her neighbors to share a meal or other activities that CASA volunteers sometimes provided. Instead of get-togethers, some volunteers have been dropping off fresh produce other supplies to the veterans every couple of weeks. “They treat us like family,” she smiles.
Sandra is particularly disappointed that there won’t be a lot of opportunity to gather and celebrate Veterans Day this year. Often on Veterans Day, she and her neighbors would go out to eat together, enjoying one of the free meals that local restaurants usually offer on Veterans Day. “I don’t know what will happen this year,” she says. “But it’s still a big day. It’s important to me. It honors the people who serve now and in the past. It’s a recognition of their sacrifice.”
Sandra is one of over 100 veterans who live in CASA apartments. We honor them every day, and we thank them for their service.