A family affair: Philip Snow’s journey to housing.
Philip Snow followed his sister and her husband to West Virginia after getting out of the armed services. Often called Mickey, the veteran was overwhelmed when he was released from the military. Recalls the native Texan, “When you come out of the service you’re just keyed up and ready to conquer the world. When things go wrong and you do become homeless it’s a tremendous shock to your system – it puts you in depression, anxiety. It’s a horrifying thing to come out of the service where the government takes care of you and you take care of the country but then you can’t get a job.”
Mickey, his sister, and his brother-and-law lived together in a tent along a river bank in Elkview for 2-3 years. After hearing about Covenant House from a friend, they asked for housing assistance from their Housing First program, and have since moved into a house of their own.
“[Getting housing] was like a ten-thousand pound weight off my shoulder. When you’re living on a river bank in the ice and snow and heat in a tent, you have no options. We made enough money to get food and stuff like that, but it was hard. And when [a representative from Covenant House] said ‘I got a surprise for you three’ (my sister died since then) it just was like a lightning bolt shooting through us. It was the most thrilling exciting thing that ever has happened to us. ”
Since Mickey’s sister’s death in 2013, he and his brother-in-law, Jimbo, have stuck together in the same house where Covenant House placed them nearly three years ago. Covenant House helped him access his Disability and Social Security benefits, which has allowed him to spruce up his room with several pieces of furniture. Mickey is inspired by his brother-in-law, who is now on track to receive a bachelor’s degree from an online program. But most of all, he is thankful for the dignity afforded to him and so many others by Covenant House’s staff.