Not having a place to lay your head at night can turn your world upside down and the Hinesville Housing Authority wants to address this issue for homeless veterans.
HHA Veterans Residential Housing Coordinator Irving White said the Housing Authority will designate five one-bedroom apartment units for up to five male homeless veterans.
Those apartments will be ready for occupancy in July.
The units are located in the Hineshouse Way Apartments complex along Rebecca Street.
The veterans will be housed at any given time for six to nine months while waiting for requested Veterans Affairs benefits, approved Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing or bed space at the Dublin, Georgia Veterans Affairs Medical Center or Charleston, South Carolina VA.
This is phase one of HHA’s Veterans Hand-N-Hand Project, which provides homeless veterans with “quality transitional housing and connections to supportive services.”
Melanie Thompson, CEO of the HHA, and the board of directors want to transform the complex into a veterans homeless facility due to the increase population of homeless veterans in the area, White said.
HHA is asking for the community to not only embrace the project but for their help.
“We want to get them off the street and we have five brand new apartments, but we have to furnish them,” White said.
The HHA is asking for people to donate new or slightly used household furnishings, such as bedroom sets, dining room furniture, linens, bathroom and kitchen items.
White said the first donations have already come in from the Vietnam Veterans of American Liberty Chapter 789 and Disabled American Veterans members. They donated pots, pans and other items for the apartments.
HHA will do a complete assessment of veteran applicants and there will be conditions attached to staying in the units such as regular visits to the Hinesville VA Outpatient Clinic.
The apartments are in walking distance to the clinic where they will have access to health providers and services, behavioral counseling and substance abuse services.
White said applicants will have to “want to move forward with their lives and become productive members of society.”
“There is a stigma attached to homeless veterans that they’re old but a whole new homeless veteran population is coming out of Fort Stewart” White said. “There is an additional special needs homeless population of active duty members who are being medically separated from the military due to various physical, mental and substance abuse issues.”
The second phase of the project, set to begin in 2018, is the construction of a 28-unit housing complex for single female veterans with children and veteran families.
“We’re committed to homeless veterans and providing a place to lie their heads down,” White said.
He hopes to meet with Fort Stewart officials to talk about issues concerning homeless veterans in the area.
The HHA will also get a visit from Changing Homelessness, an organization in Jacksonville that provides services in support of ending homelessness.
Changing Homelessness is the lead agency for HUD’s Continuum of Care grant. They will do a site visit of the apartments.
To donate household furnishings call Irving White at 912-532-9104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pick up for all donated items.