Reprinted with the permission of the Catoctin Banner
The sad truth about many Veterans is that when they return home from active duty, some of them have problems adjusting back to civilian life, sometimes turning to either alcohol or drugs. Then it only becomes a matter of time before they become homeless and take to living on the streets of our cities. A census was taken in January 2011 that showed that on any single night in the United States of America over 67,000 homeless Veterans are on the streets. I would venture a guess that the numbers have increased considerably with today’s changes in our country.
I am so happy to be writing about a nonprofit organization that specializes in transitional housing just for rehabilitating homeless Veterans. The North Point Home for Veterans is a new beginning for homeless veterans and a challenging volunteer project for Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS and their Squadrons. Right now they are only accepting Veterans in the Hagerstown and Washington County area, We are helping them to return to society clean and drug-free and to stand on their own with a job and a home. No Veteran with a dishonorable discharge from the military is accepted. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides the discharge information for the program. The homeless Veterans—with priority given to female Veterans—are allowed to stay in the program for up to two years; they are then aided in finding a job and housing to live on their own.
The Veterans—on the day they are ready to make the transition to their new residence—are assisted by volunteers from the Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS and their Squadron members. The volunteers work very hard gathering complete furnishings for the new home of the Veteran, arriving on moving day to transport and help set up the furnishings in the Veteran’s new home.
The facility that the Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS (American Veterans) is so excited about is North Point Veterans Home, which is located in Hagerstown, Maryland.
“It is a transitional living house that provides employment training and helps Veterans work toward finding a permanent place to reside. Jennifer Drake is the Program Supervisor and is the person that keeps us informed of what is needed,” said Commander Ed Stely of the Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS. He is committed to this program and is in constant contact with all who are involved.
Items are collected to kick-start their independent living in a new home: kitchen furniture, living room furniture, bedroom furniture, pillows, bed sheets and comforter, hangers, floor lamp, surge protector, extension cords, towels, kitchen towels, wash cloths, shower curtain with rings, microwave, knife set, cutting board, cups and glasses, silverware, plastic wrap, foil, coffee maker, pot holders, cleaning supplies, string mop and bucket with ringer, dish scrub brush, space heater, and plates.
The budget for this venture is funded solely by grants and donations. The staff is paid by Veterans Affairs, and the jobs training is funded by the U.S. Labor Department. These programs are an asset to the community and to the Veterans, and I cannot see it other than a win-win situation all the way around. This is what being an American really means, and I am proud to be a part of something this great.
I know that you would like to help put some homeless Veterans back into mainstream America. If you can contribute some furniture or appliances or any necessities needed in running a household, please contact Ed Stely at 301-524-9333 or Jim Payne at 301-271-3371 and leave a message; they will answer you promptly.
God Bless the United States of America, God Bless our American Veterans, and God Bless You.
by Jim Houck, Jr.
The Catoctin Banner Newspaper