Joseph Hamer

Can you imagine having to live out of your car for several months at 60 years old? That was Joseph Hamer’s reality after becoming unemployed during the pandemic. There are many veterans all across our country who have had similar experiences. But by supporting our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, you have restored stability and dignity in the life of Joseph and the lives of more than 2,400 veterans and veteran families supported each year through Volunteers of America. 

Originally from New Jersey, Joseph joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1988. He trained as an Airborne Paratrooper at Fort Benin, Georgia and was relocated to Fort Belvoir, Virginia where he joined the National Guard. 

  After his time of service, Joseph worked for many years at the National Association of Broadcasters. Life was good as he approached retirement until the pandemic hit. He was laid off and applied for unemployment, but didn’t receive benefits until many months later. 

It took eight to 10 months to get my unemployment. Getting something as simple as my ID confirmed [took a long time]. By that time, the damage was done and it put me into a very, very bad financial situation


Joseph became homeless in 2022 and was living out of his car in a parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia. He leaned on the survival skills he had learned during his time of service to keep himself going. A local YMCA became a place where he took showers and exercised to maintain his physical and mental health. 

  Joseph’s prayers were answered in September 2022 when he found VOA and enrolled in our Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.  

“I reached out and I tell you, it was like angels on earth – you know what I mean – in terms of the support base.”

– Joseph

Soon after entering the program, Joseph was placed in a comfortable apartment in Arlington and has been happily living there ever since. 

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