Outreach Helps Homeless Veteran Find Housing

As a Rescue Mission Outreach Case Manager, Jim Hawley makes regular rounds in the Rescue Mission’s street outreach vehicle. He offers water, food and other necessities to those who appear to be homeless. Through outreach, Jim also builds relationships, offering to connect people with emergency shelter and other support services.

When Jim first met Will, he was standing on a Syracuse street corner holding a panhandling sign.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Will first reacted with distrust when Jim spoke with him. Later, Will flagged Jim down sharing that he was homeless and struggling with a 10-year heroin addiction. Will said he was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Jim began working immediately to get Will admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation program.

When Will came out of the program, he entered the Rescue Mission’s emergency shelter. There he began outpatient rehab treatment. Partnering with Catholic Charities’ Supportive Services for Veterans Program, the Rescue Mission helped William secure permanent housing.

After years of homelessness, Will is now in housing and continues his efforts to stay clean and sober. He is connected with veteran’s healthcare and other services to continue his progress. He is currently seeking employment.

Will and Jim still keep in touch. Will said he appreciates the respect Jim has always shown him.

"He always treated me like a person…understood where I was coming from,” Will says. “I can talk to Jim about most everything going on in my life…getting advice on how to live back in society, because after 10 years of being homeless, you kind of forget how things happen. Like how do you make a doctor’s appointment or how do you properly get ready to go to a job interview?"


Will has a message for others who may be out on the streets like he was:

“To anyone who’s out there that’s addicted, homeless, whatever your situation is, (the Rescue Mission) is a place you can come get help and not be judged, not be persecuted. People will work with you to get you to where you want to be.”

Help Us Reach Out to Individuals on the Streets

Nearly every day of the week, the Rescue Mission’s Street Outreach Program searches for and assists individuals who are homeless on the street or in unsafe shelter such as abandoned buildings. Outreach staff offer food, water and warm clothing, and help individuals access safe shelter and housing. Click the button below to help the Rescue Mission get people off the streets this winter.