A new facility for homeless female veterans through Home of the Brave may come more easily this time around.
Contract negotiations for a lease agreement with God’s Way to Recovery are currently underway for the facility located at 9 Causey Way, which was previously used as a transitional facility for homeless men until this February.
Property owner and God’s Way to Recovery Founder Roger Wood expects a lease to be finalized by the first week of September, with a signed rental agreement with Home of the Brave to begin Oct. 1.
The facility is permitted by the city to serve up to eight residents, and will be used to assist homeless female veterans and their children. Children will count toward that maximum of eight residents.
The home, originally built in 1907 by Congressman John Causey, is a three-story house with a full basement, seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, rec room, chapel room, office, kitchen, family room, living room and attached apartment.
Because the location is zoned for commercial use and has the proper variances to operate as a facility for the homeless, Wood and Home of the Brave Executive Director Jessica Finan expect that Home of the Brave will not experience the same pitfalls, including zoning issues and neighbor hostility, as when it previously tried to open a facility for homeless female veterans on Griffith Lake Drive in 2012.
“It probably took a few years to show the neighbors [here] that this wasn’t a flop house,” Wood said. “We’re hoping it’ll be a smooth transition because of the way it was for us after the first few years.”
“[But] it’s a go,” Wood said. “The only thing we’re doing is changing gender.”
The previous location intended for the women’s facility, which was purchased as a foreclosure, is now on the market for sale, Finan said. Some renovations were needed to prepare it for a buyer, and Finan said Home of the Brave hopes to break even by selling the property.
Milford resident Paul Hayes, who has lived at 10 Causey Avenue for 30 years, said he’s never directly had any issues with the homeless served at the location across the street during its 14 years of operation as God’s Way to Recovery.
Hayes also said he will be supportive of the facility being used to house and prepare homeless female veterans to re-enter the workforce.
“It’s sad if everyone thinks ‘not in my backyard,’ then people don’t get the services they need,” Hayes said. “Our female veterans have been subjected to a lot of the same sufferings as male veterans. Someone needs to step up to the plate. To not provide services for people who’ve sacrificed is immoral, certainly it’s unkind.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Home of the Brave program will include housing assistance, food and toiletries, case plan management including assistance dealing with medical benefits, counseling referrals, building and job searches.
Finan said the new location within city limits will be perfect for a women’s facility that’s been in the works since the summer of 2012.
“This home is in a great location, it already has the rating for a group home,” Finan said. “There’s nothing we need to do to customize it for our use. God’s Way approached us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Some renovations are needed before the facility is ready to accept clients, mostly cosmetics, Wood said, including window repairs, a bathroom renovation, ceiling work and painting, which will be done by Wood, Home of the Brave. Any volunteers willing to help can contact Wood at (302) 542-5722.
The program hopes to be ready to accept clients by the end of the year.