His volunteer group, Harvison House, helps low-income veterans furnish their homes.
Posted in , Jul 29, 2021
WHO HE IS For Adam Harvison, it all started with an electric wheelchair. He had retired from his Army career in 2013 with one goal: to work with other veterans. He got a job helping homeless veterans in Las Vegas, Nevada, find housing.
Then came the phone call about the wheelchair. Someone wanted to donate it—but only to a veteran in need. Adam made sure that happened. From there, word spread. “People just started calling me,” Adam says. “Hospitals, other organizations—saying, ‘Hey, we have this and that. Can you guys use it?’ It all basically spiraled to Harvison House.”
WHAT HE DOES Adam founded Harvison House, a nonprofit organization, in 2017 to provide low-income veterans with furniture for their homes. It has helped furnish more than 200 households so far. Adam and his team of volunteers collect the donated items from all over Las Vegas, clean and repair them, then deliver them to veterans in need.
While other organizations can provide these men and women with housing, they can’t always offer them sofas, beds, kitchen tables—the things that make a house into a home. “If someone’s just staring at four walls, they feel like they have nothing to lose,” Adam says. “We give them a place to feel proud of.”
WHY HE DOES IT Adam grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents worked hard to provide for him, his brother and sister. Then the steel mills shut down and Adam’s dad lost his job. Community members stepped in to help out. “People would come over to our house on Sunday mornings and give us groceries, clothes and school supplies,” Adam says. “Even as a kid, I could see the impact of that.”
Adam, like all Harvison House staff, isn’t paid for his work. He and his wife, Vanita, both work full-time jobs in addition to running the organization. If a furniture drop-off location is near his job, Adam will even make deliveries during his lunch break. “Some things in life, you just have to put passion before a paycheck,” he says.
HOW HE DOES IT Veterans connect with Harvison House through organizations that provide housing assistance, such as the VA, HELP USA and U.S. VETS. The case manager at the organization gives Adam’s group a list of what the veteran will need in a new place. The team at Harvison House then cross-checks that list against an inventory of donated furniture. Sometimes there’s a waiting period if what’s needed isn’t on hand.
After the donated furniture has been delivered, a photo of it in its new home is sent to the person who donated it, along with a letter of thanks. Adam believes that personal touch makes a difference. “We don’t advertise at all,” he says. “But within 20 minutes, I could get three phone calls with offers for furniture.”
HOW YOU CAN DO IT If you have gently used furniture, call around to see if a nearby veterans’ organization accepts donations. If you live in the Las Vegas area, you can donate to Harvison House itself! Go to harvisonhouse.org to find out more.
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