SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – When returning from active duty, not all veterans are given a warm welcome – that’s especially true for the ones who end up homeless. But that’s where other veterans are stepping in to help their brothers and sisters in arms.
As a telecommunications specialist while serving in the Army, Joy Kaliszuk knows how it feels to be surrounded by walls.
“So I got locked in a vault for 12 hours a day sending messages and receiving messages,” Kaliszuk said.
She was sent home after suffering an intense injury. She served for just over two years.
“It had…. ended my career,” Kaliszuk said.
Her troubles didn’t quit once she returned home to Arlington.
“I ended up losing my house that I was renting and I had no place else to go,” Kaliszuk said.
She then felt those walls beginning to close in.
“I was without a home for about a week and a half. I don’t have a car so, actually I was living out of my ex-husband’s vehicle,” Kaliszuk said.
Kaliszuk says when you’re trained your entire life on how to survive, it can be difficult to ask for help, but she ultimately found it by reaching out to the Volunteers of America Dakotas and they set her up at the Berakhah House.
“We want to make that transition from them experiencing homelessness into their permanent housing with the least barriers they can,” Volunteers of America Dakotas Director of Veterans Services Paul Miller said.
With aided partnership from Veterans Affairs and the Disabled American Veterans, those walls suddenly didn’t feel so isolating.
“It brought back the structure and the camaraderie that I has been lacking. When you live alone whether it be on the streets or in a house by yourself there’s not much camaraderie, not much communication, not much interaction with adults,” Kaliszuk said.
The house offers nine bedrooms for emergency housing for 60 days of care. It helps treat addiction and works to improve social skills.
Along with her service dog Rem, Kaliszuk now has her own place and a job. She and Miller say that the help isn’t just confined within these walls.
“It’s so important that all veterans know that we are there to help them no matter what the circumstance we will walk beside them,” Miller said.
“Treat them like you would your own co-worker, your own family, one of your dear friends,” Kaliszuk said.
You can visit the VOA website to learn more about Berakah House. If you know a veteran in need of help have them call this number 1-800-273-8255.