Thanks to federal funds, nonprofits and government organizations across the country are making it their mission to get homeless veterans off the streets.
But while Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing provides rent payment assistance to formerly homeless vets, there aren’t as many programs giving them the resources to turn an empty apartment into a home. So that’s where Homeward Vets of Ludlow, Mass. steps in.
Ludlow’s Director of Veteran Affairs, Eric Segundo, tells Kaitlin Goslee of WWLP, “What they lack is what we do once we’ve got them the housing, not having the furniture, not having the items.”
The nonprofit collects donations of furniture, small appliances, and other useful home furnishing items from colleges, businesses, hotels and individuals. It stores them in its warehouse and then delivers them to veterans’ new homes.
Since March 2012, Homeward Vets has furnished the apartments of 274 former service members.
Navy Veteran David Felty, who founded Homeward Vets, believes a cozy, furnished apartment can make all the difference in enabling soldiers who are chronically homeless to turn their lives around and keep their apartments. “You can see it in their eyes, you can see it months down the road, they’ll call me they’ll check in. We have people that want to pay it forward and give back,” Felty says.
MORE: The National Movement to End Veteran Homelessness Continues in These Two Cities