They served our country, and now in their time of need, a Freeport group gives back to homeless veterans.
The Freeport Area Church Coalition helps more than 170 homeless adults each year with food and shelter. Around 10 percent are honorably discharged veterans.
Two years ago, FACC leaders came up with the idea to develop a building they could use to provide those vets with a place to live, called the 'Hero House.'
"This permanent supportive housing project will serve some of those, will give them a permanent place to stay off the street and out of places not meant for human habitation," says Dean Wright, Executive Director of the
Freeport Area Church Cooperative.
Project organizers found a location on West Clark Street, and with the help of the building's owner,Ryan Hughes, got it ready for tenants.
There are six available units inside the hero house like this one. Each one includes its own private bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
FACC leaders hope they can start moving veterans into the building as soon as October first. Rent will be based on income.
"So it takes that little burden off them so that they can concentrate on updating their resume, updating their employability, just to have a permanent address," says Maryna Misiewicz, Superintendent of the Stephenson County Veterans Assistance Commission.
Hero house earned a $187,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the FACC needed to come up with a 20% cash match before group members could use the money.
That's where Episcopal Charities and Community Services stepped in.
"There aren't very many veterans programs in this particular area that would allow people to be housed, and we thought that was very important for the community," says Episcopal Charities and Community Services' Vice President Cheryl Rogers.
The Chicago based organization will donate $15,000 to the project over the next three years. Freeport's Grace Episcopal Church hopes to raise the remaining funds for Hero House at its annual 'Lobsterpalooza' event on Saturday, October 12th.
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