The most tragic are homeless veterans, usually those suffering from PTSD or carry some other forms of trauma as a result of their time in the military. Luckily, some states are looking to make a change, like the city of Philadelphia, which has recently revealed that they will convert an old school into a home for 12 homeless veterans. This unit will also create 37 houses for seniors.
The school, which had not been occupied for over 40 years, will be the new location for housing, as decided by a partnership between the Philadelphia Housing Authority and an organization called HELP USA.
David Cleghorn of HELP USA told the press, “It would have been far too expensive and a shame to tear it down. We haven’t gotten any pushback or a single negative comment on this project. The building has been an eyesore for a while and a safety issue that needed to be addressed. People are excited about it.”
HELP USA so far has contributed fifty-six million dollars into city projects. Previous projects from HELP USA like the Hardy Williams Veterans Center and the Robert A. Brady Townhome community, have strongly focused on aiding homeless veterans as well.
Cleghorn continues, “All of these projects are immensely successful. Once these vets are in our apartments, they have support services right there on site. What keeps them there is that they really form a community of shared military experience. They look out for one another. They’re happy and proud of where they live, and that makes us happy and proud. Our housing projects in Philadelphia started in the late ’90s. Some are for seniors 55 and up and others are for veterans, many of them formerly homeless and recovering from substance abuse, others with mental health conditions or disabilities. We try to fill needs when there’s a need. We’ve built houses for people with HIV, victims of domestic violence and communities that live with mental health conditions. It’s a no-brainer for veterans. They’ve made sacrifices for us and they deserve to have a place to live. It’s the right thing to do.”
Beyond housing, HELP USA plans to provide a whole host of different services including “healthcare, counseling, employment and youth mentorship programs.” The project is slated to complete in the first half of 2017, with people moving in at the end of that year.
While there’s no easy solution to take care of every homeless person, organizations across the US are slowly making a difference!
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