With Veteran’s Day right around the corner, not all of our heroes have homes to call their own. But a local organization is making sure that our veterans have a warm bed to stay in and are getting the help they need. TV2’s Henna Thornberry has more.
Veteran’s Day is Tuesday November 11, 2014. It is a day to honor those who served our country. However, not all of our heroes have homes.
Freedom House in Kent, Ohio is a transitional house for homeless veterans. Veterans have to apply to stay in the house. Veteran’s Affairs funds 65 percent of the house and the rest is funded through donations and grants. Director of Programming Colleen Reaman said that veterans must complete an over-the-phone interview through which they are assigned certain points based on the answers they give. The answers have certain point values and those with the most points are put higher on their waiting list and are given priority. For instance, those from the area or who have a tie to Portage County get higher points and those with no criminal record get higher points.
The veterans are then contacted for an in-person interview and Reaman determines whether they are suitable for the home or not.
“It is by far the most meaningful work I have ever done,” Reaman said.
She credited her passion for her job to the successes they see; meaning veterans who leave the home and live a successful life afterwards.
Veterans can only stay at the home for one year. Reaman said the program is therapeutic and they try to focus on deeper problems. She said about 75 to 80 percents of their residents have substance abuse issues. The program is strict so those that agree they want to be at the house must comply by the rules.
So the first twelve weeks that a veteran is at the home they focus on personal issues. The veterans wake up and have a group meeting where they discuss the day and sometimes have speakers. Then they have 20 minutes of deep breathing to relax and reflect. After the relaxation and breathing they have group sessions which focus on art therapy, drama therapy or life lessons. During the second twelve weeks their group sessions are focused on employment, housing and health. Freedom House works with veterans to find them stable jobs and housing in the area to make sure they are successful after completing the program.
A few of the veterans in the program now said it completely changed their lives.