Homeless vets living at “A Safe Haven Veteran Suites” have opportunity to rebuild their lives to self-sufficiency with pride and honor
CHICAGO – This week, veterans experiencing homelessness in Chicago took advantage of the national “Hiring Our Heroes” initiative.
Veterans living at the A Safe Haven Veteran Suites, A Safe Haven’s new housing dedicated to veterans, attended the fair after participating in A Safe Haven’s pre-employment training and classes.
U.S. Navy Veteran Mellody Frazier has lived at A Safe Haven Veteran Suites since December, and found the Hiring Our Heroes event valuable for her.
Frazier, who served as a nurse in a Navy hospital, said she is also considering enrolling in A Safe Haven’s Landscaping Professional Institute, but liked her options at the job fair.
“I spoke to representatives from 6 different businesses, mostly in healthcare and federal government, to see what they have to offer,” said Frazier. “They accepted resumes, and I am following up with them to pursue these job opportunities.”
Brian Rowland, the co-founder of A Safe Haven, is himself a veteran of the U.S. Army. He said A Safe Haven housed over 500 veterans in 2011, and that Wednesday’s attendance at Hiring Our Heroes is part of a larger initiative at A Safe Haven to end homelessness for hundreds of veterans each year.
“Most Americans are one paycheck away from being in crisis. Veterans come back and fall into that even quicker,” said Rowland. “We are grateful for the partnership with Hiring Our Heroes as part of our initiatives to provide bright futures for veterans experiencing homelessness.”
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said on Wednesday that helping homeless veterans is a priority right now, when the government is seeking to provide more housing by integrating with different organizations.
“Our goal should be to end veterans homelessness in the United States,” said Reed. “It’s shocking that these young men and women who have served their country so well, now literally can’t find a place to stay.”
Chicago-area Congressman Danny K. Davis commented how glad he was that A Safe Haven was working on this in his district.
“A Safe Haven is one of the most creative, one of the most effective, and one of the most dynamic social service institutions in America. Not just in Chicago, not just for veterans, but in terms of a vast array of creative ideas,” said Davis. “I can’t commend [A Safe Haven] enough for what it is that they do, and what it is that they mean, to not just this community, but as I just indicated, to people all over the world.”
“We’re very proud of A Safe Haven, one of the Chamber’s members,” said Mark Williams, Executive Director of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce’s DisabilityWorks. “We give special recognition and special applause today to A Safe Haven for … contributing to one of the pieces that make a productive life—housing, employment, education—these are all important for all veterans.”
Anthony Watson, a veteran living at A Safe Haven Veteran Suites, was very grateful.
“I thank God for A Safe Haven. They saved my life. And I can speak for some of the other veterans, they saved their lives,” said Watson.“I was homeless, I was on the floor. Thank God for A Safe Haven. Keep pouring everything you got into A Safe Haven, because we need veterans to be housed.”
A Safe Haven now has 20 sites throughout Cook County. For this site, A Safe Haven partnered withnational Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
An astounding 30% of homeless adults in the United States are military veterans. A Safe Haven has served over 500 homeless veterans this year. Since September 11, 2001, A Safe Haven has been increasing the services it provides to homeless veterans. Two more dedicated sites are on their way, in addition to exclusive job training programs.