portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Group working to establish homeless veterans shelter

October 1, 2012

WAYNE ALLEN


PDT Staff Writer


Veterans Helping Veterans and Others is looking to establish a homeless veterans shelter in New Boston. The shelter would eventually be equipped to house up to 60 of the communities homeless veterans.


Mike Bell, First Vice Commander for American Legion Post 471 is working with Veterans Helping Veterans and Others to bring the Jonathan Etterling-Tony Applegate Home For Veterans Shelter to reality.


“Being the First Vice Commander for American Legion Post 471, we run across homeless veterans all the time. We have homeless veterans, who come to the post and we will put them up for the night,” Bell said. “One day it dawned on me, we need a homeless veterans shelter in this area.”


Bell said, according to the Veterans Administration (VA) the closest homeless veterans shelter is in Barboursville, WV.


“It’s a terrible thing to see a homeless veteran,” Bell said. “I know of homeless veterans in our community, who are sleeping under the bridges.”


Bell said the VA has programs and avenues for funding such a shelter. He added the group is looking to the VA and the state of Ohio for funding.


Bell is also working on a fundraising event that he hopes will bring in $10,000 for the shelter.


“We are organizing a fundraising event for Black Friday. On Black Friday we (Bell and other Veterans) will go homeless for four days in front of Daymar College in an effort to raise 5,000 cans of food for the Veterans Helping Veterans and Others Food Pantry and $10,000 that will be put towards the homeless shelter,” Bell said.


He said once the shelter is up and running he hopes it will be able to provide counseling, employment training and a number of other services for its temporary residents.


“Seeing the homeless veterans in the community and talking to people in the community about this has driven me to help to establish something like this in New Boston,” Bell said. “This is something that we are persuing diligently.


Bell said he and others are working to identify possible locations for the shelter. He is hopeful a possible location could be identified soon.


“This would be something the community would benefit from,” Bell said.


He said when the shelter first opens it will likely be about to house between 10 and 20 homeless veterans. He said down the road the shelter could house as many as 50 or 60 homeless veterans.


Bell is hopeful to have the shelter up and running by the summer of 2013 if not sooner.


For more information about the veterans homeless shelter http://veteranshelping.org/


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.