Several organizations across the country gave renewed hope to veterans at the recent Veterans Day celebrations.
In California, the Santa Cruz County Veteran’s Memorial Building Trustees closed escrow on Jaye’s Timberlane Resort, located off of Highway 9 in Ben Lomond. The Central Coast homeless veterans were able to live there.
Air Force veteran Darren Barthl, who had suffered through personal disappointments and physical injuries, said he was ready for the end.
“I was ready for suicide. I was ready to check out,” he said.
But when he learned of The Santa Cruz County Veteran’s Memorial Building Trustees housing project for veterans, he felt hopeful.
Barthl lived in the Benchlands, but is now one the vets at the former resort.
“Me and my buddy David kind of made it. We were the two that kind of pushed it that said we could do this,” he said.
The pair pushed for the first ever Veterans Village, a permanent and affordable housing option for veterans and their families.
“Getting the vets isn’t even the problem. There’s 58 vets with Section 8 housing vouchers in this county that aren’t even using them. Why wouldn’t we take that opportunity to house our vets even among the community?” said Marine Corps veteran David Pedley.
Susan True, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County CEO says that partners like Housing Matters already screen individuals to confirm eligibility for Federal Administration vouchers.
There are 10 cabins on the property, as well as a home with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and an office that will offer various services to veterans. The place can immediately accommodate up to 18 vets, and there’s a possibility for expansion.
Veterans Village is managed by the Community Foundation. It hopes to raise additional funds through a $75,000 donor matching programme that runs through November.
Barthl is adapting well to his new community.
“Feel accepted and Housing Matters really made a difference. They made it so I had a plan to stay and I can grow and I am back,” he said.
A new housing facility in Phoenix will be built for Arizona veterans. The new facility will be located near Interstate 17 and Cactus Road, according to the non-profit U.S. VETS.
The rent doubled last year, and the non-profit organization was forced from its former location. The city spent $10.5million to purchase and renovate the former hotel in Phoenix, with the assistance of Mayor Kate Gallego.
Aside from housing, vets in need will receive services such as health care, counseling, and skills training, which will allow them to use what they’ve learned in the service and apply it to regular jobs.
KTAR News spoke with Michelle Jameson about her role as executive director at U.S.VETS Phoenix.
“We have an outreach team, you call us and we’re going to go get our veterans and we’ll give their immediate needs – shelter, food, clothing, a warm place to sleep.”
Since 2001, U.S. VETS Phoenix has helped more than 10,000 veterans. The organization has provided housing and workforce development services, as well as case management services, to veterans.
Samuel Coggins, a Marine Corps veteran, is one of them. He was a Marine Corps veteran when he joined the program in May. Now, he has a success story to tell.
“Because of U.S. VETS giving me assistance and hand ups, not handouts – I was able to go through with a job interview and land the job and now I have a job that I love,” he said.
Coggins works at a Scottsdale veterinary office. He also helps other veterinarians get off the street and back on their feet.
***Did you enjoy our positive and uplifting story? By simply subscribing to our site and sharing our stories, you can help us support each other.