Kendrick Ladd found himself living out of cars and celebrating holidays alone in the park. The 32-year-old Army veteran admits that he was ill-prepared for life on this own and needed a fresh start.
With the assistance of Fort Worth Housing Solutions counselors, Ladd was introduced to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program that combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ladd, a FWHS resident for about two years, moved to The Holston in February. The community is the first FWHS mixed-income development serving the thriving Alliance Corridor. The 264-unit property, with units offered at both market and reduced rates, offers high-end amenities in a resort-style community off Texas 170 and Keller Haslet Road in an area near major distribution centers for companies like General Motors, BEHR, Facebook and UPS, and the high-performing Northwest Independent School District.
Ladd, a former Army mechanic, is developing a mobile mechanic business that he plans to launch in 2022. He said The Holston has been more than a home; it’s allowed him to build a new life. Ladd was recently featured in Fort Worth Report’s story “Fort Worth Housing Solutions aim to solve poverty, housing issues in city with projects.” FWHS caught up with Ladd for the following Q&A.
How did you find out about housing assistance?
“I was pretty young when I went into Army at 17, and when I got out I didn’t know how to rent an apartment or pay bills. But I got an apartment, and I wasn’t financially ready for it. I wasn’t prepared.
“Before long I was taking temp jobs and I didn’t have a place to stay. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family. I’ve always just stuck in out on my own. I was searching if there was anything out there for veterans and found out about the HUD-VASH program. I talked to a counselor and they said this would work for me, and I was able to apply.”
What are your impressions of The Holston?
“It’s amazing. When you look at it, you think, ‘This going to be expensive, and how can I afford it?’ It’s a high-class apartment with so many amenities. It’s quiet. They have a pool, game room, exercise equipment, gym area, TVs, interview rooms. There are also tons of resources to motivate you to find a job. The Holston is a kind of place that not only is your apartment, but you can do other things to better yourself.”
What does it mean to have a roof over your head and bed to sleep on?
“I’m extremely thankful. I’ve been outside, slept in my car, slept in other people’s cars. I’ve had holidays where I was homeless. I didn’t want to be a charity case. I would just go to park and grab something to eat and celebrate there.
“To actually have a place to come home and wash my clothes and sleep comfortably … I really can’t put it into words. It’s amazing.”
What is coming next in your life?
“Hopefully next year should be pretty big for me. I want to start my business with help from Fort Worth Housing. I want to start giving back in the community. Without Fort Worth Housing, I wouldn’t be able to financially start a business or do anything. It’s been a big impact on my life, and I want to give back.”