Harbor Homes helps Homeless NH Veteran Gain Employment and Housing

On 03/25/2013

After serving our country as a proud combat Army soldier in the Desert Storm Gulf war for almost a year, Tommy Kelly returned home to start several successful electronics businesses. Needing access to an experienced workforce in the Nashua area, in 2009 he met with Andrea Reed, Program Manager of the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) program at Harbor Homes. It was a perfect match — the purpose of the HVRP program is to provide services to assist in reintegrating homeless veterans into meaningful employment. Tommy was eager to help his fellow Vets and hired several workers at his business, Seacoast Electronics, in jobs such as repair, shipping, inspection, and customer service. The Vets were always grateful to Tommy and considered him a patient and understanding boss. Little did he know that Andrea would later be the keys to helping him years later.

Unfortunately, in 2012, because of the downturn in the economy, Tommy had to close Seacoast Electronics and found himself homeless. While at Liberty House transitional housing in Manchester, he met Linda Lurvey, also from the HVRP program, who was providing Outreach services to Vets. Linda helped him create a resume that highlighted his skills and set up an appointment for him to see the Program Manager of the HVRP program – Andrea Reed. Tommy immediately recognized Andrea, as she again stepped into his life – this time to offer assistance.

Tommy was anxious to get back to work. Coincidentally, Donna Curley, manager of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) group, had just mentioned to Andrea that she had a new job opening for a support team member –- and stated it would be great if that person was also receiving services from Harbor Homes or was a Veteran. Did she know of anyone? Linda connected the dots, interviewed Tommy, then sent him on to discuss the position with Donna. Because of his solid computer and customer support background, help from the HVRP program, and lots of serendipity, he was offered the job. The HMIS team was happy to welcome Tommy on board in early December!

Tommy’s luck didn’t stop there. The same day he got the HMIS support job, he heard he was accepted for housing in one of Harbor Homes’ Veterans FIRST housing transitional housing programs,  Dalianis House.  Tommy says, “It all came full circle. By helping others find work, I eventually helped myself find a job AND a home!”

The program that Andrea manages continue to provide ongoing education and employment services for local Veterans. Tommy has taken part in Project Employment Connect and will continue to help other Vets in any way he can, such as at the Stand Down for homeless Veterans held at Harbor Homes in the fall.

He is so grateful, stating “I am so lucky to have found Andrea and Linda and the Veterans FIRST program.”

Tommy knows he was at the right place at the right time. Regarding his new job, Tommy says, “I am so fortunate. I find this job fulfilling because there is an end result – just like me, someone will get the help they need and that is the best feeling ever!” So many pieces came together for Tommy, with help from dedicated people such as Andrea and Linda, plus lots of luck.

Please join Harbor Homes in welcoming Tommy to our team of staff members! To learn more about the programs of Harbor Homes, please visit our website.

Housing like Dalianis House for homeless veterans and their families have helped more than 285 veteran households move from homelessness to independence since 2004. Every day, the Veterans FIRST housing and services Harbor Homes offers through your generous support makes stories like this possible. Thank you!

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