Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

For Veterans, Home at Last ; Army of Helpers Converts Convent to Shelter

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

For Veterans, Home at Last ; Army of Helpers Converts Convent to Shelter

Article excerpt

The Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program had so many people come to help fix up its new shelter Saturday morning, they didn't all fit inside. "I'm so overwhelmed," said LaDonna Duvall, HVRP's director, looking down a freshly painted hallway bustling with people cleaning and setting up furniture.

The HVRP group plans to open a transitional housing facility called Turning Point for homeless veterans in the old St. Anthony convent on First Avenue by next month, but needed supplies and bodies to get the place ready. Without help, they weren't sure how they'd pull it off, Duvall said.

So in an article published Aug. 9 in the Courier & Press, the group asked for the community's help - it worked.

In the last week the group said it received hundreds of phone calls from people offering money, donations and volunteer labor.

"It could not have gone any better," said Duvall. "People started showing up with supplies this morning and we had no idea what to do with them all."

People from around the Tri-State came Saturday with cleaning supplies, kitchen appliances, bedding, bathroom accessories and new furniture.

One woman brought a refrigerator. Another brought a new television. And a crew of retired painters showed up ready to work.

By Saturday afternoon, the walls had a new coat of paint, the rooms were sparkling, and the cabinets and closets were stocked with supplies.

"Things are just pouring in," said Karen Daugherty, the program's employment coordinator. "I've lost track of who brought what."

Daugherty said the program couldn't afford to prepare the shelter this quickly without the public's help. Its $130,000 federal grant does not include money to open or operate a shelter.

It was only able to open this one because the St. Anthony parish donated the space to the group. And having a transitional housing facility for veterans will help the program with its overarching mission of helping homeless veterans get employed. …

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