Steven Michael Hardy ’12: Helping Homeless Veterans
Steven Michael Hardy holds a BA in Biological Sciences from Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. A disabled veteran who served in Iraq, Steven is currently the Executive Director of the Home Deployment Project. In recognition of Veterans Day, we asked Steven to share his story.
“As a disabled veteran myself, I faced many of the hardships veterans encounter while trying to reintegrate back into civilian life after service. I had a difficult time keeping a job and ended up on the verge of homelessness. It took a few years before realizing many of my troubles were associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder attributed to my time in Iraq. My loving family, friends, and regular counseling helped me to rebuild my life. This support structure enabled me to go one and attain my degree at Pleasantville. Unfortunately, not every veteran with PTSD is so lucky and many end up homeless, addicted to drugs, in prison, or dead.
Shortly after graduation, I left NYC to pursue a better quality of life in Henderson, NV, right outside of Las Vegas. It was here through my volunteer work with homeless veterans that I was inspired to create the HDP, a 501c 3 nonprofit incorporation headquartered in downtown Las Vegas. Together with the local community, we work hard to find, identity, and save veterans from homelessness. We literally scour the streets, find them, and place them into housing. It doesn't end there. We work with then one-on-one for the next 6 months and help reintegrate them back to productive members of society.
Our job is ridiculously difficult. Our challenges are always funding and breaking through the stereotypes associated with the homeless community, but we continue to do our job no matter what. Slowly we are gaining national attention and we will not quit as long as there are homeless veterans that need our help.
I would never have had the motivation to establish such a wonderful organization if it wasn't for the education and confidence I gained at Pace.”
You can find more information at www.thehdp.org.