A Veteran Finds Help at the Veteran Outreach Center's Richards House

Drive to the corner of South Avenue and Cypress Street in Rochester and you'll find an old brick building where miracles are happening inside. This is the Veterans Outreach Center's Richards House.

Richards House and the Otto House next door give veterans like James Jalbert a safe place to call home while they work on issues that caused them to become homeless. James served six years in the Navy.

"As life went on I was a drinker, an alcoholic. Then I got laid off on Veterans Day of all days in 2008. Then it was just a downward spiral until I was rendered homeless." 

James came to the VOC for help finding a job.. they thought he needed something else.

"When James came he was isolated, he was an isolationist, says John Holt, a case manager at the VOC. "He was angry and he was bitter."

Like most veterans who come to Richards House, James received mental health services and addiction treatment.  He changed on the inside and out. James connected well with the other vets and became a beacon of hope. He left Richards House three years ago, found a job and still visits every week. James Jalbert is what Richards House is all about.

"How have I changed?  I'm just totally different. I was full of fear and anxious, I was mean spirited. But now I'll do anything for anybody." 

Call it a miracle, call it hard work, it's what can happen when you call on the Veterans Outreach Center.

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