Reporting Harry Porterfield
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WHEATON, Ill. (CBS) – Homeless veterans who need a home and some help are finding it at a shelter in Wheaton.
CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield says its founders, staff and residents are all someone you should know.
There won’t be a brass band standing in the front lawn to herald the occasion, but there is a banner announcing that the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in downtown Wheaton is five years old.
It’s the dream of co-founder Bob Adams, a Marine during the Vietnam War who became a social worker, has pledged himself to help veterans in distress.
“The veterans who come to us very often are at the end of their rope. This is a last stop for many of them. They’re living in cars. They’re living in the woods,” Adams says. “We see our veterans as folks who really have a great need for what we provide.”
Since the shelter opened in 2007, the 44 veterans who have lived there and benefited from its services have moved on to live a better life. Lee Buckley, who served in the Navy during Vietnam, is a current resident.
“I’d been without a full-time job for quite some time,” he says. “I’ve been unable to find full-time employment and eventually I just got to the point where I couldn’t pay my rent and I would up homeless.”
Pam Kostecki, shelter operations manager, says a variety of services are available to meet the residents’ needs.
“Any aspect of a veteran’s life that they’re struggling with … is addressed,” she says.
Last May, the organization opened a second facility just a few doors down from the first one. It provides affordable housing for veterans.
“We really weren’t sure what we were doing. We just knew what we wanted to do,” Adams says. “It’s been nothing short of miraculous.”