House for female vets has new lease on life

Home of the Brave looks at downtown Milford location
August 26, 2013

The Home of the Brave Foundation has not given up on the idea of a facility for homeless female veterans. After abandoning plans for a program outside Milford near Abbott's Mill, the organization is in contract negotiations to lease a building in downtown Milford.

Home of the Brave Executive Director Jessica Finan said the foundation is working with the building's owner, God's Way to Recovery, for a one-year lease for a former homeless men's shelter at 9 Causey Ave., Milford.

Beth McGinn, Home of the Brave Foundation chairwoman, said after one year the board will decide whether to continue leasing or purchase the God's Way property.

Finan said the downtown facility, which will house up to 8 women and children, is in a convenient location. “There are so many things within walking distance,” Finan said, adding there is a bus stop to close to the building.

Finan said God's Way to Recovery was hopeful that another nonprofit organization would lease the building and continue to provide housing for the homeless. “After two years we should know if the women's program is viable,” McGinn said.

A house purchased by the organization on Griffith Lake Drive is for sale, Finan said. The Home of the Brave board decided against opening a women's facility there because of opposition from neighbors and restrictions placed on the facility by the county's board of adjustment.

Home of the Brave has provided transitional housing for homeless male veterans for the past 21 years, currently at a facility on Sharps Road off Route 1 south of Milford. The women's program would follow the same basic guidelines as the men's program and provide transitional housing.

McGinn said the men's facility is funded by donations and grants, as well as by the Veterans Administration, which provides a per diem for veterans. “However, the Veterans Administration is not funding any new projects such as the women's facility, which will rely solely on donations from grants, veterans organizations and community groups,” McGinn said. “Returning women veterans will face unique challenges, and housing will be a major concern for them.”

McGinn said the organization's strategic planning group will continue to monitor the progress of the women's veterans program. “We feel confident that it will be as successful as the original Home of the Brave facility on Sharps Road in Milford,” she said.

During testimony before the county's board of adjustment, Home of the Brave officials said on any given night, there are 25 homeless women veterans in the area.