Mark's Story



Mark Olin was honorably discharged from the Army in 1996 after serving two years of Active Duty as a combat engineer in California and eight years in the Reserves. Sadly, life proved to be extremely challenging after Mark left the Army. Over time, he developed a number of medical issues and was chronically homeless for 15 years.

Before Mark Olin first arrived at Volunteers of America in August 2017, he was living in his truck with his dog, Gunner. He had tried living in veteran group homes before, but never really felt that he received the support he needed until he arrived at our Maple Court Veterans Transitional Housing Program Apartments in Durham, NC. Our program became a place where Olin could not only focus on his recovery, but work towards self-sufficiency.

After several months of recovery, Mark was connected by our staff to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also began receiving social security income and VA disability benefits during his time in the program. Towards the end of his stay at Maple Court, Olin and Gunner were successfully placed in a one-bedroom apartment with the view of a lake at Lakeside Gardens in Durham.

“I’m so grateful for all of the support I received at Maple Court. The apartment I stayed in was really nice and I enjoyed being around other veterans who made me feel welcome.”

Mark Olin
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