3 - Daniel

Daniel* came to Volunteers of America to turn his life around. He had served 9 years in prison for stealing merchandise from a store. He was a recovering alcoholic and was living with a chronic health condition. He was placed at one of VOA’s reentry programs to finish his sentence and prepare to become a positive, contributing member of society upon release.

Daniel wanted to make this happen, but he didn’t know where to start – he had no family or support systems left, he had no resources, and he had limited job skills. That’s where VOA comes in – we are a leader in providing evidence-based services that help to reduce recidivism for individuals who are or have been recently incarcerated. VOA helps men and women who are leaving correctional facilities to develop daily living skills, conduct job searches and obtain employment, learn how to budget, obtain their GEDs, create positive support systems, and find stable housing, all with the goal of helping them successfully transition to life in the community.

Staff at VOA’s reentry program worked with Daniel to assess his issues and develop a plan to address the behaviors and thinking that had led him to commit a crime. They arranged for an AA sponsor and ensured that he attended AA meetings to help him maintain his sobriety. VOA staff helped him to access health care and arrange a treatment plan for his health condition. They taught him computer skills and helped him to search for jobs and apply online, which eventually resulted in Daniel obtaining employment so he could support himself.

The last step in Daniel’s recovery was helping him find a place to live upon his release. VOA enrolled Daniel in our new Rapid Rehousing Program so he could rent an apartment near his job. The program provided temporary rental subsidies to support his rent while VOA staff continued to guide him on his path to self-sufficiency. After 6 months Daniel has maintained his sobriety and is able to pay his entire rent with the income from his job.

Nearly 25% of people leaving prison are arrested again within three years of being released. “Stability is an important part of preventing recidivism,” says Angela Harbin, VOA’s Regional Vice President of Housing Services. “When someone has a job and a home they are motivated to be a contributing member of the community.”

Daniel is just one example of the hundreds of people VOA helps every year through our Reentry services. Your support of VOA helps people such as Daniel to improve their lives and have their best chance to a productive life.

*Name changed to protect privacy.