A Success Story: Goodwill & Independent Housing Collaborative Help Homeless Veteran Acquire Transitional Housing

(SAVANNAH, GA) Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, along with the United Way of the Coastal Empire and several other organizations make up the Independent Housing Cooperative (IHC), which provides local military veterans with transitional housing.

Michail Lynch is a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and an 11-year veteran of the Army National Guard. After the military, Lynch held various jobs in the fields of transportation and food service. The proud father of three had to support his family and provide security and stable living conditions as his daughters depended upon him. Things seemed to be looking up as Lynch landed a job as a school bus driver in Jacksonville, Fla., an hour’s commute from his home in Folkston, Ga. Then, the family vehicle broke down and the job was lost due to transportation issues.

Again finding work was a challenge for the 50-plus year old with major health issues. Lynch was barely maintaining a place to stay when a friend referred him to a church that offered help in obtaining housing and work in the Savannah area. The family relocated, but the commitment of help did not materialize into housing but into short term payment for hotel lodging and soon that help decreased. Lynch and his three children lived in a one-room residence for nearly two years, making ends meet on pick up work, food stamps and financial assistance from churches and social agencies.

During his stay, Lynch met another hotel resident who shared information about Goodwill and its program for Veterans. A phone call to Operation Open Doors and a referral from the Veterans Affairs linked Lynch to job search support and assistance in obtaining VA housing services. Lynch remained in contact with Goodwill and through the partnership efforts of the agencies, Lynch moved from the hotel into a program subsidized apartment in October 2014.
The transitional housing into which Lynch and his three daughters moved is a multi-family unit of townhouses belonging to a local real estate company, which donated the use of the property to the IHC in October of 2012.

After connecting with Goodwill, Lynch obtained work, pursued other income resources and with supportive Case Management services has developed a success plan for family and finance. Through Goodwill’s Operation Open Doors program, Lynch was eligible for this kind of assistance.

“If I could advise anyone about ending homelessness, I would tell them to go through the system, don’t rush, follow instructions and be open and honest about everything,” said Lynch. “Don’t give up, there is help somewhere, and the system does work. Ask for a hand up – not a hand out.”

Left to Right Michail Lynch, U.S. Navy & Army National Guard Veteran and Veteran & James Cantu, Services Program Coordinator at Goodwill of the Coastal Empire

Left to Right Michail Lynch, U.S. Navy & Army National Guard Veteran and Veteran & James Cantu, Services Program Coordinator at Goodwill of the Coastal Empire

The Lynch Family

The Lynch Family

Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, Inc. is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization with over 850 employees. In 2013, Goodwill provided services to 19,518 people and placed 1,672 into employment. Goodwill serves 33 counties in Georgia and South Carolina, operating 19 retail locations, and nine Job Connection Centers. Goodwill accepts tax deductible donations of clothing, household items, computers, and car donations, as well as operates an online store at http://www.shopgoodwill.com. For more information on Goodwill of the Coastal Empire, please visit http://www.goodwillsavannah.org. Find us on Facebook: Savannah Goodwill or follow us on Twitter: @SavGoodwill.

The mission of United Way of the Coastal Empire is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. United Way conducts an annual fundraising campaign and invests donor contributions in programs and services within four impact areas: Education & Youth Development, Economic Independence, Health & Wellness and Basic Human Needs. United Way serves Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. United Way is a volunteer driven organization that involves hundreds of community leaders, professionals and other volunteers in every aspect of our business, including fundraising, marketing and funding decisions, to ensure that your donations are truly making a difference. Thanks to the Herschel V. Jenkins Trust Fund and other income which covers almost all administrative and fund raising costs, donor contributions go to help people in need. In addition, United Way of the Coastal Empire has earned Charity Navigator’s highest level 4- star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability for the 6th consecutive year. Only 3% of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least 6 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that United Way of the Coastal Empire is an exceptional organization.

Jan L. Bass
Marketing Director
Goodwill of the Coastal Empire


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