Mission United Success Story: Wayne Phillips

"Not all homeless people are bad people, alcoholics and drug addicts. Some of us have just had a bad break in life and need help."

10-17-2014 · Homelessness · Mission United


Wayne Phillips spent three years living in shelters and on the streets. The United States Navy veteran, who did tours in the Persian Gulf and Vietnam, became homeless in 2009 after getting injured at work and losing his job.

Wayne had some money saved up, but had to use it all to pay his medical bills. Hopeless, he turned to alcohol to ease his physical and emotional pain.

His life turned around after he joined the drug and alcohol program offered through the Veterans Administration (VA). After getting clean, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Mission United program, assisted Wayne in getting housing with the Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), a United Way community partner.

He later connected with another partner, Homes of Light, where his case manager helped him get a driver’s license, birth certificate and disability benefits. Wayne says he is grateful for the Mission United program, and appreciates the work it’s doing “helping get vets out of shelters and into housing programs.”

Wayne now spends his time volunteering with Veteran Auto Response team, a social enterprise with Homes of Light. He has been drug and alcohol free since 2010 and says he feels most proud of getting sober before his mother died. He has also been able to reconnect with this family.