For 30 years, Access Housing, Inc. (DC), Southeast Veterans Service Center (SEVSC) has proudly supported the needs of homeless veterans, by providing temporary and permanent housing, as well as other critical services needed to transition them from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
The concept of a Veterans Center came in the late 1970s, when then, DC Ward 7 Councilman, H.R. Crawford, received a call about the need to evict a group of homeless who had created an encampment under a bridge near Georgetown. Councilman Crawford, wanting to see for himself the extent of the problem, decided to visit the site where he found himself astonished by the ingenuity of those who had gathered there. This small makeshift community was thriving with an electrical supply that not only provided lighting but also the ability to cook. What he learned from his visit was many of the camp’s residents were homeless veterans. As a veteran himself, he was able to establish an immediate connection and was even invited by the group to share a meal of fried chicken and hot coffee that had been prepared on a hot plate.
During that memorable dinner, Councilman Crawford learned the unique and disheartening stories of each person there and concluded that for many, they were still at war, battling every day to survive homelessness. Despite Councilman Crawford’s admiration and compassion, he was unable to avert the agonizing task of evicting the men and women from their camp. The event did, however, provide the catalyst for the founding of Access Housing, Incorporated Southeast Veterans Service Center. His vision was to create a haven for those who had served in our country’s armed forces with access to safe, decent, sanitary, permanent housing with support services that would ensure self-sufficiency. Decades later, SEVSC continues to fulfill this mission.
Through the years, the Southeast Veterans Service Center has provided countless veteran men and women with a place to call home and the supportive services, such as mental and preventative health, substance abuse counseling, financial education, job preparation and readiness, VA benefits support, housing counseling and more, that they need to successfully manage their transition from military to civilian life. As the leading organization exclusively serving the needs of veterans with great programs and a variety of community supports, we believe that we enhance the quality of lives of our veterans and the District at large.
“After two tours in Afghanistan I retired from the US Marine Corps. I thought I was fine but the memories of what I’d witnessed there really impacted me. I didn’t want to remember anything so alcohol became my closest friend. When I hit rock bottom AHI was there. Living at the Center with my peers from the military helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back into life. Thank you, AHI!” ~ Petey J., US Marines