Veteran gets back on his feet, thanks to Project Action for Veterans

Denise Lopez doesn’t want anyone to be homeless, especially not a veteran.

“It’s hard to accept when someone who served the country is on the street, without the comforts of a home,” she said. “They’ve already sacrificed so much.”

Denise is program manager of the Primavera Foundation’s Project Action for Veterans, or PAV. The program helps veterans experiencing homelessness.

“We can take in anyone who walks in,” said Denise, who has been with Primavera for more than five years.“They don’t have to have a referral.”

There’s great need for these services. Primavera saw a 24% increase in veterans served in fiscal year 2022-2023, with 512 participants receiving help up from 411 in fiscal year 2021-2022.

One of PAV’s recent success stories? A veteran named Michael Pulaski who struggled with housing insecurity.

Michael reached out to Primavera a year ago, when he was ready to get help.

“It’s very difficult to be homeless,” he said. “Everything you do is a huge undertaking.”

Michael, 64, served in the U.S. Marine Corps before becoming a cabinet maker. His life changed about three years ago when he became addicted to opioids while trying to manage debilitating knee pain.

The first Primavera employee he met last summer was Anna Villalobos, a dispatch service specialist with Primavera Works.

Anna’s compassion was comforting to him, Michael said.

After that, senior resource specialist Josefina Torres helped him get into an apartment in just two weeks.

“She basically saved my life,” he said. “Primavera saved my life.”

Michael knew if he could get stable housing again, he could “fix what I messed up,” he said.

He’s been in housing for nearly a year and is again in touch with family in Michigan.

“I just wanted to be a normal person,” he said. “Not having a residence, it’s not normal.”

Josefina, a Marine Corps veteran, has been with Primavera for four years.

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