Donald

In 2011, Donald McCree, a disabled veteran and Charlotte native, entered the Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program through the Veteran’s Administration in Salisbury, NC.

This is a 38 day program for drug and rehabilitation. After completing this program, he entered the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program at the VA. This is a six (6) month program, but Donald was in the program eighteen (18) months. He had a housekeeping job with the CWT program and lived in a boarding house near Livingstone College. When he finished the program he moved to Charlotte and lived on the streets for 2 ½ weeks, because he said the Charlotte shelter was not a “safe place and things were stolen easily”. While on the streets, Donald met a couple, Kim and Frank, who knew about the Union County Community Shelter. They brought him to the Union County Community Shelter (UCCS) on November 21, 2012. He said when he walked in he noticed how “neat and safe” the facility was and the “meals were good”. He said when he came to the shelter he weighed 178 pounds and now weighs 200 pounds, which his doctor is pleased with.

While at UCCS, Donald began working with Vocational Rehabilitation. Donald needed hip surgery, but first needed to be stabilized in housing before this type of surgery and physical therapy could be committed for him. Donald kept an active case plan with the Veteran’s Administration as well, often being transported to his appointments by UCCS transportation staff and assisted by his UCCS case manager while he remained in shelter. During his stay at UCCS, Donald remained clean and sober and continued to work his case plan to move him to self-sufficiency. Over time, with the help of his case manager and the VR case manager, Donald was hired by the local Chick-fil-A. Although it is often difficult for Donald to stand long periods on his deteriorated hip, he has persevered and has been able to maintain good and steady employment with Chick-fil-A; all the while saving his money while in shelter to assist him in his quest for permanent housing. Recently, Donald has been awarded a VA housing voucher that will assist him with his permanent housing costs. He became a priority case after showing his ability to maintain employment and follow his case plan to self-sufficiency.

Donald states without the Union County Community Shelter he does not know what he would have done. UCCS provided him a safe place to live, food to eat, transportation to his medical and resource appointments, case management support, and is now assisting with housing relocation services. During his time at UCCS, Donald became a first time grandfather and was able to speak with his son deployed overseas in the military. He was reunited with his family on many levels. As Donald leaves UCCS to move into his own apartment, he states he will remember the support he received at UCCS and hopes to remain in touch and even volunteer in the future.

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