By the end of this month, a handful of homeless female veterans and their children will have the opportunity to get back on their feet with transitional housing near downtown Milford.
For more than two years, Home of the Brave Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter and counseling for veterans, has been working to establish a facility for homeless female veterans. The organization finally secured a location at 9 Causey Ave. in Milford, only a few blocks from City Hall, downtown shops and state resources.
But before celebrating an open house last Wednesday evening, dozens of hands worked to scrub and set up donated bedrooms to show off to the public. Cadets from the Cape Henlopen JROTC program spent their after school hours scrubbing, painting and preparing the house for visitors and ultimately, new veteran residents.
Victoria Handlin, a 17-year-old cadet from Milton, said that the experience of cleaning the historic, three-story home was an eye-opener for her.
“Everyone was totally surprised in how far the place has come, especially a lot of the women organizations that sponsored the rooms,” she said. “As a woman, it impacted me a lot because I know one day I’ll be a veteran and it’ll be there for me if I ever need it.”
Handlin said the work she and her fellow cadets did in the few days before the unveiling of the transitional home was simply every day cleaning, but hopes their effort will have much more of an impact on the residents.
“They’re totally going to be 100-percent thankful for everything,” she said. “Now they do have somewhere to go to and they’ll finally feel appreciated.”
Dozens of veteran supporters from across the state showed up to the open house to check out where eight veterans and children will soon be living and working toward self-sufficiency. While many shelters can only support an individual for a short amount of time, Home of the Brave Executive Director Jessica Finan said that while the goal for residents is to be on their own within 6 to 9 months, that the facility can accommodate them for up to two years.
The new female veteran’s facility will mirror Home of the Brave’s male facility, Finan said, especially by providing case management, resume building and career services to help residents build the skills needed to obtain employment and, ultimately, their own housing.
Home of the Brave currently has a one-year lease with Roger Wood, owner of God’s Way to Recovery, with the option to purchase after the first year.
“We’ll be assessing the need and how this property works for it,” Finan said.
Page 2 of 2 - Army veteran Greg Fuller, who visited the property for the first time last Wednesday, said he believes the home will work perfectly for the homeless female veterans that it will soon house.
“This is very good to see,” he said. “Anything we can do for our veterans is very important. We should take care of them.”
Finan said she expects veterans to move in by the end of the month. Currently, inquiries with immediate needs are referred to other facilities outside of Milford. Once Home of the Brave is ready to accept residents, a total of eight people, including the children of female veterans, will be living in the Causey Avenue home.