Since 2009, Freedom House, a program of Family & Community Services, has provided transitional housing and supportive services to veterans experiencing homelessness in Portage County. Though the facility has been a refuge to hundreds of veterans over the years, it had one caveat – it could only serve men.
This past spring, however, the Department of Veteran Affairs released capital funding to renovate transitional housing facilities to increase safety and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to veterans. For Freedom House, that meant transforming shared bedrooms and bathrooms into private spaces for each veteran, which not only protects from the spread of illness but also enables the facility to accommodate all veterans, regardless of gender.
Though the facility can’t serve women until October 1, 2023 due to funding restrictions, the renovations will soon allow Freedom House to serve a growing population of female veterans experiencing homelessness and offer programming that targets their specific needs.
With fourteen individual bedrooms and bathrooms, the facility expects to serve an average of 50 veterans and their children each year. The renovated shelter also offers a shared living room, group therapy room, kitchen, dining room, and outdoor space where veterans can relax and work on their community garden.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for the facility’s Donor Tree of Life. Donations are also being accepted to help put finishing touches in place and supply incoming veterans with personal items and assist with needs they may have. If you would like to sponsor, donate, or get involved, contact Emily Werger, Program Manager, at 330-673-0705 or [email protected]. For more information, visit fcsserves.org/capital/freedomhouse/.