On Thursday, April 27, the Home of the Brave on Sharp’s Road held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new women’s shelter. The new shelter was constructed on the property already owned by Home of the Brave after the organization saw a need for a permanent location to house female veterans who were experiencing homelessness.
“We actually opened a shelter in July 2016 in a building we rented in downtown Milford,” Jessica Finan, Executive Director of the Home of the Brave, said. “We began to collect data to determine whether a women’s shelter was necessary and soon realized that the data demonstrated a definite need. We reviewed our options as we didn’t want to continue renting and realized we had five acres of land where the male shelter sits. We conducted feasibility studies and found that building a shelter here was the most financially sound decision.”
The new shelter will hold up to eight people including children. Because female veterans who suffer from homelessness often have children, the shelter was designed to keep families together. The women’s shelter is modeled after the men’s shelter in that women must have been honorably discharged from the service and be experiencing homelessness.
“We are transitional housing,” Ms. Finan explained. “The veterans are able to remain in the shelter for up to two years. However, the majority of them actually use the shelter for between six and nine months. Some may have issues that cause them to remain longer, but we work to help them get back on their feet as quickly as we can.”
Ms. Finan said that while the veterans are in the shelter, they are provided services that are designed to end their homeless situation. They are given access to job skills training, offered resume building workshops as well as financial education to end their cycle of homelessness. Ms. Finan said that the shelter is always in need of donations like Walmart gift cards which are used to buy personal items like bras, underwear and socks or DART bus passes that the veterans can use to get to job interviews, work and to run errands.
“We also take donations of household items, cleaning supplies, personal grooming items,” Ms. Finan said. “The veterans often come to us with nothing more than a backpack, so anything that people can donate is appreciated. We also take donations of small appliances like coffee pots, blenders and microwaves that the veterans can use when they transition to a permanent residence.”
The Home of the Brave is still conducting a capital campaign to raise the $400,000 it cost to build the new shelter. To date, the organization has raised $108,450 toward the new building. Donations can be made by visiting http://homeofthebravefdn.org/hob-ii-capital-campaign/ and clicking on the Donate button. The Home of the Brave is also selling personalized bricks for $100. The bricks will be set in the path that leads to the entrance of the women’s shelter. A donation form is available at the website as well.