Coming Home: Veteran Finds Housing Through Salvation Army Program

By:  Cyrondys Jackson


When Army Veteran, Johnny Holaway, walked into the doors of The Salvation Army in April of 2022, his spirits were broken. Having served his country at home and abroad, Holaway returned to the United States and pursued careers in sales and management. Years later, after several financial struggles, the Guntersville native found himself facing eviction. Holaway inquired about Pandemic-related assistance programs offered by The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command. 

“I worked with the case manager and the day I was approved, was actually the same day I was evicted. And I had nowhere to go,” said Holaway. 

Holaway says he stayed at a local shelter and then began working with The Veterans Administration to secure his own place. Holaway was referred to the HUD-VASH program, a collaborative program, which pairs HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with VA case management and supportive services for homeless Veterans, according to The Veterans Administration. 

Once I got approved for the voucher, I was able to join the BRIDGE program at The Salvation Army, and work with the case managers and the staff there to try to find me a place,” he said. 

There are over 330 thousand Veterans living in Alabama, with about 7.4 percent of the people who served our country living in poverty. The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command is committed to serving Veterans, by offering transitional services that support Veterans experiencing homelessness. The BRIDGE Program is a partnership between The Salvation Army and the Department of Veteran Affairs, and provides Veterans with services that include case management, resource referral, coordination of medical, mental health, and addiction services, education services, housing placement and job training. 

The BRIDGE Program serves up to 10 Veterans during a 90-days stay. Veterans live in dormitory apartments, receive three meals daily, in-house laundry services, engage in weekly outings, have access to a fitness room, and other activities that encourage and support Veterans throughout their stay. 

Barbara Carlton, Assistant Director of Social Services, says working with the Veterans is a rewarding experience. “Many of our clients come through our doors with everything they own either in a bag or on their back. Being able to assist our Veterans as they transition is truly a blessing, because they have given a tremendous sacrifice for us all.” 

For Mr. Holaway, being surrounded by fellow servicemembers was just what he needed.  

“You serve together, and you share stories about your travels, where you were stationed, and everything else. You create friendships because you are going through the same ups and downs,” Holaway says. 

In December 2022, Holaway received approval for an apartment and moved into a two-bedroom all his own. Holaway says the blessings did not end with housing, thanks to The Lettermen of The United States, his entire apartment was furnished and decorated.  

“They came in here and made it a home. And it was The Lettermen and The Salvation Army that made all of this possible.” 


The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command also offers the following services to Veterans at The Center of Hope: 


The Center of Hope in Birmingham, Alabama, is the only emergency shelter serving women, men, children, families, and Veterans in Central Alabama. We extend a safe place for any Veteran experiencing homelessness. At The Center of Hope, Veterans find rest, a hot meal, and a fresh start. 


Those who fought to protect us often find themselves battling PTSD and drug and alcohol addiction after returning home. At our Adult Rehabilitation Centers, we offer faith-based recovery and work programs in addition to other Veteran services to help our country’s bravest overcome these struggles and return home to their families. 


Veterans often find themselves battling loneliness and depression years after returning home. The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command is committed to standing beside those who stood for our country. Whether it is phone cards to call home, wheelchair assistance, large-print Bibles, or a friendly smile and companionship for the afternoon, we are always ready to serve. 

For more information on Veteran’s services, please call 205-328-2420.


“They came in here and made it a home. And it was The Lettermen and The Salvation Army that made all of this possible.” – Johnny Holaway, Veteran