James B., a Veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been in our Veterans Transitional Housing Program since April.
He found himself struggling with the transition back to civilian life. He battled with homelessness and poverty and was in need of assistance. One in 10 homeless people are Veterans, and like James, 89%
are honorably discharged.
“It was different because the military gives you a regimen. You’re told what to do and you follow orders. It’s easy, but when you get out, you sort of have to fend for yourself …. and that’s the challenge,” James said. “There’s nothing for combat Veterans once they get out to have a reintegration process back into civilian lifestyle … but the PTSD issues don’t come until later.”
Kentucky loses 118 Veterans to suicide per year, and homeless Veterans are at a higher risk to attempt suicide, sometimes because of eviction or a lack of housing. However, with critical support from our, Veterans Program, James is heading in the right direction.
“This place has given me a second chance,” James added. “It’s a nice stepping stone to get grounded, continue on my path, and move forward.”
We are excited to give more Veterans, like James, a second chance. At Waypoint House on our Shelby Park campus, we are expanding services to our Veterans Program by adding 24 single room apartments for male and female Veterans who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or who have experienced homelessness in the past.
Several have already filled out applications, and we accept housing vouchers or other forms of rental assistance, as well as Veterans who are low-income but can pay their own rent.
“We will continue our Veterans Transitional Housing Program, which started two decades ago and provides 20 private rooms to homeless Veterans in our Ozanam Inn Men’s Emergency Shelter,” said Dave Calzi, St. Vincent de Paul Louisville’s Executive Director. “Now we have the opportunity to increase our
commitment to Veterans by providing additional support for our current clients and those in the community to find permanent housing.”
We can help Veterans like James and many more go from homeless to being housed by providing both transitional and permanent affordable housing, including support and services.
“Having these permanent housing units on our campus is a wonderful compliment to the transitional housing program we have at Ozanam Inn,” said Sam Schreier, Ozanam Inn’s Senior Program Manager. “We have a good amount of participants who become acclimated to the community and available resources on campus.”
Veterans will receive resources from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and access to lunch and dinner seven days a week at our Open Hand Kitchen and groceries from our Food Pantry.
“This is another safe and stable housing option for our Veterans,” said Gloria Mucker, the VA’s Grant & Per Diem Liaison. “Some of our Veterans want to live in a shared community environment in which they are familiar. They want to continue to strengthen the bonds they created during their transitional housing stay at the Ozanam Inn. The addition of a permanent affordable housing option can also be a way to combat loneliness and isolation for many of our Veterans who otherwise would move into unfamiliar and less desired communities.”
Support Homeless Veterans
Renovations to Waypoint House are currently underway and expected to last four to six months. The updated facility will include two self-service kitchens, laundry room facilities, and common spaces for connection and recreation. Private rooms will come fully furnished.
Thanks to the generosity of two lead donors, any donations will be matched up to $250,000. A gift of $10,000 will help cover the cost of renovating a private, single room.
This includes furnishings, an accessible wash room, and appliances with needed electrical upgrades, all having access to on-site laundry and common area kitchens.
Please consider donating to provide transitional and permanent housing and lifesaving services to unhoused Veterans.
Any amount will help those who have faithfully served our country. They deserve nothing less! Donate now!