At the beginning of this year, Wayne packed up his house in Baltimore and moved to North Carolina. His daughter and two grandkids live in Raleigh, and he wanted to be close to them. “I’m starting my life over again,” he said with a smile. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Wayne didn’t have much to move. He never made enough money as a housekeeper to have any savings. When his kids grew up and moved away, “I sort of fell on a little bit of depression,” he says. “My kids had grown up and moved on and everything, and I found myself in an empty house.” He tried to downsize, but he realized, “It’s just too expensive. You couldn’t find any affordable homes in Baltimore. The housing system was overrun.” He wasn’t sorry to leave his row house, in a neighborhood where crime rates and housing costs were both soaring.
When he moved to North Carolina, Wayne was most excited about the trees. “I was just so happy,” he remembers. “I thought, ‘I’ve got so much oxygen!’”
Wayne moved in with his daughter for a while and applied for an apartment with CASA. “I was starting from zero,” he says. CASA helped him get connected to the VA, where he applied for veteran benefits and a housing voucher. When he tried to use his voucher to find an apartment, he was turned down again and again, “because I didn’t have a steady income.” Even with the voucher, he couldn’t find an apartment he could afford.
When he heard that he had been approved for a CASA apartment for veterans in Durham, he was thrilled. “What I like about my apartment is that it’s new,” he said. “It’s pretty! And it’s enough space for me.” Now that he’s settled in, Wayne is job searching. He’s working with a career coach and his case manager at the VA to spruce up his resume and apply for part-time work. On the weekends, he takes the bus to Raleigh to stay with his grandchildren while his daughter goes to work. He loves to take them to Marbles.
“I’m so glad I got this opportunity,” Wayne smiles. “I’m starting over from scratch in a new state and a new city, and I’m happy.”
Help Veterans Like Wayne Find Affordable Housing in Durham, NC
Looking for affordable housing in the NC Triangle? See if you qualify for CASA housing here.