Client of the Year: Bill Tynes, US Military Veteran
Bill Tynes has worked with TAP over several years to better his housing and life situation. On a recent fall morning, he sat down with our staffers to recount the story of overcoming challenges in his life, including abuse, drug addiction, and near homelessness, to later becoming a homeowner.
Growing up, Bill found himself in and out of foster homes and suffered abuse at the hands of adults in his life. He continued on to a career in the navy, but the scars of his childhood stayed with him. “Going from all that abuse and disappointment and not trusting people, that’s when I entered the realm of drug abuse, after the navy, because I thought nothing would ever work out,” he said. After two DUIs, Bill eventually lost his license.
When Bill first came to us he had managed to put his substance abuse behind him, but he had other problems at hand. The apartment where he was living was infested with mold and rats, and he was in a legal fight to get out of his lease. Bill was resourceful and smart; he represented himself successfully and was released from his lease, but he found himself virtually homeless as a result. Because he was a veteran and his living situation was not habitable, we were able to help Bill through our homeless veterans program. We provided Bill with a deposit and first month’s rent, plus some assistance with utilities, to help him get into a safe, healthy apartment.
Unfortunately, after moving into the new apartment, Bill’s troubles were not over. He was in a relationship that ended badly, and he was stalked and threatened. Bill again represented himself in court successfully and got a restraining order, but he also needed to remove himself from the environment. TAP’s Domestic Violence program was able to help Bill develop a safety plan, and also provided a deposit for him to move to a new location and get a fresh start.
After moving again, Bill’s upward trajectory really took off. We were able to connect Bill with a key contact at the Veteran’s Administration who expedited his claim for disability benefits. With the extra income, Bill took the opportunity to reinstate his license and purchase a vehicle.
In the meantime, Bill also spent two years at Virginia Western earning his associate degree in paralegal studies. “When I started college twenty-some years after high school,” Bill recalled, “I was very intimidated to try to get a degree. But I said, ‘I’m teachable. I’m willing to learn.’”
This past year, Bill returned to us for help to accomplish another goal—becoming a homeowner. We guided him through the Veterans Administration home loan process, which eventually led to him obtaining a mortgage. When the closing date came in August, Bill found himself tight on funds due to closing costs, so we covered some of his moving expenses.
Bill’s attitude toward homeownership is one of gratitude and celebration. “Going from a dysfunctional family and foster homes and addiction to owning my own home? It’s amazing! [TAP] made that possible; [TAP] connected the dots.”
Bill’s advice to other veterans in the community who are struggling? Ask for help. “If you don’t ask you will never know…TAP is a give and take program. You come to TAP and explain what you’re dealing with and they will take you on as you are and see if they have a way to help you out…With TAP there are possibilities. All you have to do is ask.”
Our programs for veterans serve former service members across 26 localities. We have helped hundreds of homeless and at-risk veterans to secure stable, safe housing and to access benefits they have earned. Please consider supporting TAP’s veterans programs with a gift today. Your support is life-changing for veterans like Bill.