Wheaton shelter hopes to expand

May 1, 2009 9:01:34 AM PDT
A shelter in west suburban Wheaton is having a big impact on the lives of some homeless veterans. Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans has provided a much needed hand-up to more than a dozen veterans. They have plans to expand their facility to help many more.

For many military veterans, the war may be over but the battle to readjust continues. With that thought in mind the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans opened its doors in downtown Wheaton two years ago. Vietnam veteran Bob Adams is a cofounder.

"My partner in this project, Dirk Enger, and I both served in the Marine Corps and the first thing the Marine Corps taught us and the last thing they told us was that Marines don't leave anyone behind. Yet we saw in our cities and suburban towns many, many homeless veterans," said Adams.

The shelter is a transitional residence for five.

"To me it means there are a lot of places that try to mass produce people and you become just another face. Here I'm treated with respect? and have my own dedicated bed...and am able to actually recover and hold down a job," said one vet who did not wish to be identified.

Since the shelter opened, 19 veterans have gone through the programs; most of them are no longer homeless or unemployed

"It's very good to see them make that transition while they're here because when they come to us they're nervous ....they're scared they've been let down. They need a hand up...and that's what we give them," said Anita Dierks, executive director.

The shelter's proposed expansion would accommodate 15.

"I feel, I feel that this is my last duty station...and that to be able to do the things we do and be able to serve the way we're able to has been more gratifying....than I would have possibly imagined when I first came up with this idea," said Adams.

For more on Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, visit helpaveteran.org


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