GARRY AND REBECCA
Garry Watson, a disabled US Army Veteran, and his wife, Rebecca, were bouncing from shelter to shelter on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Garry was disabled, unable to work, and was receiving no benefits. Eventually, the couple made their way to Pasadena, where our partner, Union Station Homeless Services connected them to our agency in May of 2015. New Directions worked with them and linked them to a home in a brand new affordable housing community in Eagle Rock built by our partner, Women Organization Resources, Knowledge and Services (W.O.R.K.S.). They moved into their new home on September 18, 2015, but their struggles continued.
Since Garry was discharged from the military without benefits, New Directions referred him to our partner, Inner City Law Center, who linked Garry to supportive benefits. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reviewed his record and agreed that Garry’s disability was connected to his time in the US Army, and that as a result, he could not work.
In May of 2016, just one year after he was first referred to New Directions, Garry secured a 100% service connected disability rating, enough for he and Rebecca to live despite his being disabled. He received $35,000 in back pay from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, ongoing benefits, and now has access to the VA Healthcare System. “We could not have done it without you and the team there at New Directions,” the Watsons said this week to one of our staff members. “It felt good to have people believe in us.” After working with New Directions for Veterans for 18 months, the couple was able to move back home to Ohio to be closer to their family. The Watsons keep in touch with us, and let us know how they are doing. They bought a new car, and keep it in the garage in their three-bedroom house. Congratulations, Garry and Rebecca on all of your success!