LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County is in the midst of a campaign aimed at helping our homeless heroes with a goal of housing 50 homeless veterans in 100 days.
The Lee County Homeless Coalition and other local partner agencies are taking a proactive approach to housing chronically homeless veterans-- those who suffer from serious medical conditions, cost public systems the most money, and have typically been on the streets the longest. Thy're streamlining the complicated local housing system that takes far too long to navigate, according to the coalition.
Air force veteran Randy Morrison served in Vietnam, but recently fell on hard times when he was laid off. Morrison and his wife were forced to live out of their car for two months before they secured a housing voucher and new apartment.
"Until you're actually in that spot, you don't realize how devastating it is," Morrison said.
To make the process faster, Lee County has recieved 35 additional housing vouchers from Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), and Lee County Homeless Coalition members are referring all veteran clients to Veteran Affairs outreach. Permanent housing options are being identified using a Housing First approach centered on providing people experiencing homelessness with housing as quickly as possible, then providing services as needed.
The American Legion Post 38 is collecting gently used home furniture and decor, to give veterans in the program the comforts of home.
"It's all up to us. We send them out there to fight a war for us. It's up to us to bring them back here and take care of them and make sure they're able to fit back into society," Commander Kevin Boyd said.
To help or learn more, contact Janet Bartos, Executive Director of the Lee County Homeless Coalition, at (239) 322-6600 or click here.