Image of Alford Ford

Homeless Veteran Gains Strength Through Volunteering

Through Ozanam Manor, St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP)provides a bridge to permanent housing for homeless men and women age 50 and above.  Their program includes veterans.  As many of those on the streets face physical or mental challenges, SVdP’s goal is to help Ozanam Manor residents move into permanent housing.

Ozanam Manor offers a safe, nurturing, and supportive environment in the interim, with caring individual case managers, mentors, and classes. Guests receive the help they need to end their homelessness by pursuing opportunities available to them. Group activities help residents rebuild community living skills and enhance their abilities to live happy and healthy lives in mainstream society.

U.S. Air Force Veteran Alford Ford is 71 years old and has been at Ozanam Manor for seven months. He originally relocated to Glendale from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Alford worked at State Farm Stadium (formerly the University of Phoenix Stadium) for 12 years but had to leave his job due to back surgery.  He plans to return to the position whenever he can get a brace. He ended up at Ozanam due to continually rising rent rates in Glendale that he could not afford without working at the stadium. Before the hurricane, Ford had spent 12 years in the Air Force and the Louisiana National Guard. He started volunteering at Ozanam when he heard they needed the extra help.

“I love it here, and I am glad they have it here in this community,” he said of Ozanam. Regarding the community that he has built at Ozanam, Alford said, “I’ve met a lot of new friends, a lot of new people, and all the residential managers are great, we all get along. I’ll go visit New Orleans, but I ain’t going back.” Ford has found a place he can afford in Glendale and is hoping to move out of the manor within the next month, but says he hopes to continue volunteering, “I’ve got to pay them back in some way.”

“I am grateful that Alford joined our community and am so excited for him to meet his goal of getting into housing,” said Julia Matthies, director of Ozanam Manor.  “Ever since he moved in, Alford has given back to the program, while working hard toward his goals. In every interaction, he is polite and kind, and his smile lights up his face. We’re all going to miss him when he moves out!” she added.

Ozanam Manor has a contract with the VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program. To determine eligibility, veterans must undergo a HOMES assessment at the Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) at 1500 E. Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85014 (602) 393-9930. If Ozanam Manor is appropriate, HCHV staff will refer you.

To learn more about St. Vincent DePaul and Ozanam Manor, go online to

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *