MARION, IL (KFVS) - There's a new home in Marion that homeless Veterans in the area can move into, while they try to get back on their feet.
The V.E.T. Home, Veterans Entering Transition, opened its doors to local veterans on March 11, and now there are more then a dozen living in the new house.
For many of them, this is the first time they've had a place to stay on a regular basis.
"I was couch surfing you know going from one friends house to another friends. It was just a mess, I was all over the place," said Richard Jones, a U.S. Army veteran. "Wherever I could sleep that's where I went to sleep. I didn't have any hope just going day to day. Now I actually look forward to something."
The veterans get a safe place to sleep, a place to eat and even do their own laundry.
They also get the help they need looking for work, and counseling services.
"It gives them more security that they know they have a place to sleep every night. They don't have to worry about that," said Steve Steiner, the homeless case manager for the Marion VA Medical Center. "And then we can get them into counseling for any substance abuse or post traumatic stress or what ever treatment they're needing."
The home also gives the veterans a chance for more then a new start on life, they develop friendships with the other Veterans in the house.
"I was actually kind of scared at first to come here," said Rick McReynolds, a U.S. Navy veteran. "I've always worked and all that, then all of a sudden I wasn't working and I came here. I've gotten used to it now. I'm ready to get on with me life and see how far it goes from here. This actually the best I've felt in a while."
The veterans can stay at the home for six months or longer if they need to.
"A lot of them come in and feel like there's nothing that they're going to be successful at no matter what they try," said Deborah Pape, the chief business development officer for The H Group. "And once they get here they find out pretty quickly that they have a stable place to stay, good food to eat and a clean environment. And they see that they actually have a lot of potential and there is hope."
And that sometimes is all it takes to help get a veteran back on his feet.
"Our main goal is to end homelessness. So maybe this house will be empty one day, that would be the ultimate goal," Steiner said.
The Veterans Home is a combined effort of the Marion VA Medical Center and The H Group.
If you would like to learn more about the new home for Veterans please contact Deb Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.