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Housing resources for veterans in the Big Bend region

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 20:16:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — According to the most recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are over 19,000 veterans in Leon County and many veterans who are on a fixed income may not be able to afford a place to live.

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition is the second largest resource to veterans in the Big Bend besides the VA— serving 200 to 250 veterans and households each year. One service they offer is accessible housing.

The Home Front Veteran's Community is a permanent, affordable housing option for disabled veterans that were formerly homeless. In addition to the Home Front Veterans Community, they offer rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention.
"Basically anything that gets someone into housing and keeps them in housing. That's what we do here. We get people back on their feet in every way possible," said Mike Solomon, SSVF Program Director.

However, they've seen an increase in need after the pandemic and the increase in housing costs. Although they have 52 units at the Veteran's Community, Holly Bernardo said it's not enough.
"This is full all the time and we always have need for more, so there's a significant lack of housing for the number of people we are currently serving here in the Big Bend."

They're looking to expand their veterans community in the near future. Bernardo said having a place like this for veterans to call home is crucial.
"This is a safe house and this is a safe place for you. In a community, I think the magic is that the community is all Veterans and they care about each other and you know this is their home. It's not just a program," said Bernardo.

Veteran Shawn Noles is the Regional Operations Director for Tallahassee Veterans Village. It's a two-year transitional apartment complex for men and women who were or are in the military.

He agrees that having a like-minded community can help veterans be successful. "You have 51 other veterans on site who are you know some of them are dealing with the same issues and they're being successful at it. So it's kind of a new person comes in, but someone who's been in the program for 6, 9, 12 months can say hey look, do this, here's what's worked for me," said Noles.

The Home Front Veterans Community is looking for volunteers to help with its beautification to ensure veterans have a nice place to live. People who want to help paint the apartment complex can volunteer starting Saturday, July 23.