Peace for a Retired Veteran


Martin never expected to find himself homeless at the age of 78, after serving four years in the U.S. Marines, including 13 months in Vietnam, and working for the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for decades.

But that's exactly what happened only a few years ago.

After he left the military in 1972, Martin met and married Gladys and together they settled in Brooklyn, raising two daughters in a rent-controlled apartment that he shared with his family for close to 48 years.

When Martin retired, he and Gladys decided to give up their rent-controlled apartment to move in with her sister in North Carolina.

They thought this would be ideal since they would be together under one roof with close family, and the cost of living would be cheaper in North Carolina than it had been in New York.

But the living arrangement did not work out.

When the couple returned to New York two years later, they were unable to find an apartment they could afford.

For six months, they slept on the floor of their daughter and son-in-law’s one-bedroom apartment. “It was a really bad situation,” Gladys recalls. “We were living out of a plastic bag and Martin even had surgery at one point and had to sleep on a mattress on the floor.”

The couple tried desperately to find an apartment, but since Martin was retired and their income was minimal, they had no luck.

Finally, someone from the VA connected Martin with VOA-Greater New York, and from that point on everything changed.

“VOA-Greater New York was a godsend."

Through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, VOA-Greater New York helped Martin and Gladys find a beautiful one-bedroom apartment. “It’s in a brand-new building,” he says. “Everything’s nice and my wife fell in love with it right away.”

Now the couple enjoy peace, privacy and quiet in their very own space, and they appreciate the ongoing support they get from the VOA-Greater New York staff. “Our case worker is so helpful, respectful, and professional,” Martin says.

“VOA-Greater New York was a godsend,” says Gladys. “If not for them, we don’t know what we would have done.”