Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Spencer Housing For Homeless Vets Nearing Completion

Four transitional veteran housing units in Van Buren County are expected to be ready by the end of July.

American Legion Post 207 Commander Hansel Moore said the four concrete structures are in place with plumbing installed. He said once electricity is hooked up, interior work will finish up and homeless veterans will be moved in within days. Moore said the post already has a waiting list of veterans looking for housing.

“Throughout Middle Tennessee, there are encampments of veterans,” Moore said. “Anywhere from five to a dozen veterans kind of collaborate and form a group, and sadly, they live in the woods.”

If you would like to volunteer with services or money, can reach out. Moore said they would also be provided social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and employment experts while living in the units.

“Many of the veterans I work with do deal with PTSD,” Moore said. “It makes it difficult sometimes to make decisions. Either personal decisions, domestic decisions, or financial decisions, and if they’re not in treatment for the PTSD, it’s a roadblock for success.”

Moore said there are thousands of veterans in Tennessee who, while not necessarily homeless, live in substandard housing like fifth-wheel trailers without water or electricity. He said combat veterans are particularly susceptible to divorce, and many others are at risk of self-medicating tendencies and other forms of substance abuse. All of which, Moore said, lead to an increased chance of homelessness. He said he hopes the program sparks a statewide movement to assist veterans.

“To my knowledge, there’s no other post in the state of Tennessee that’s doing this,” Moore said. “But I think we’ve started something, and I hope that other veterans organizations and veterans’ resources in communities are starting to become aware of these veteran’s issues.”

Moore said the issue is discussed nationally, but providing veterans with basic necessities has to happen right here at home. He said his goal is to help veterans become completely independent after just a year in the program.

“Sometimes, just quite honestly, it’s pride,” Moore said. “The individual doesn’t want to reach out sometimes, but when they connect with other veterans that understand some of the things that they’re going through, it’s a game-changer and they’re willing to accept help.”

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