Meet Joe Hyatt
Army Veteran | Weingart Center Alum | Graduate Student
"It is a blessing that an organization like the Weingart cares for our country’s veterans and helps us to transform our lives and get back on track. Thank you."
- JOE HYATT
Former Army Paratrooper Joe Hyatt is a successful Weingart Center client from 2008, who is now pursuing his Master's Degree in Clinical Counselling at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. By investing in the lives of community members and veterans like Joe, we transform individual lives and improve the quality of life for everyone in our community. The Weingart Center provides direct services to more than 20,000 homeless individuals per year. We offer programs uniquely tailored to meet the needs of this diverse population. Whatever the obstacles are – debt, addiction, a criminal record, mental or physical illness – we help them overcome these challenges and clear the way for a fulfilling life.
“I first landed on Skid Row on December 18th, 2007 wearing nothing but the clothes on my back after spending 6 months in jail. My journey into homelessness was dramatic. During Christmas of 2006 I had a good job, family, a home and all the other luxuries that a stable person has in life. One year later I was standing in line at the Union Mission looking for clothes.
In the summer of 2007 I overdosed on alcohol and pain killers in an attempted suicide. The only thing I succeeded at was having a violent run in with police. While in jail, I was diagnosed with PTSD from my time in the Army. I had been an alcoholic and battling depression for years. When I was released from jail I was unemployed, broke, and had nowhere to go. That was when I ended up at the Weingart Center.
I was at the Weingart Center from December 2007 until August of 2008. I also had long term case management until 2010. Having a moment of clarity helped. But the substance abuse counseling that I received at the Weingart Center helped me accomplish what I had failed to for years. And that was to get clean and sober. They also put me in touch with the Veterans Administration were I received disability as well as PTSD counseling. The Weingart Center provided psychiatric counseling as well as anger management and stress management classes. I learned a lot about myself while I was there. They basically peeled me like an onion and got down to every layer.
But most of all I learned about the issue of homelessness. By getting to know the other participants as well as those still living on the streets and hearing their stories I was inspired to both better myself and give back to the community. In 2011 I moved to Colorado to get a fresh start. One of my long term goals was to go back to college which I did. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and am now working on a Master’s Degree in clinical counseling at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. I have worked with nonprofits such as the Salvation Army and the Springs Rescue Mission. Last year I returned home to Natchitoches, Louisiana to be closer to family. I am still clean and sober and owe it all to the Weingart Center.”