Homeless Vets Get New Home In Fresno
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
It's a transition many can't comprehend; going from the battlefield to a one-bedroom.
Former Marine Richard Barnes hasn't had a stable home since he got out of the service in 1981.
"I made bad choices early on," Barnes admitted.
But he cleaned up his act.
"In the last decade or so I started making better choices, better decisions. It's cultivated to this place where I'm at now," Barnes said.
Now, he's preparing for his job as house manager at Downtown Fresno's new Veteran's Plaza.
"I'm being able to give back to the community. I'm a part of something that's bigger than myself and everything around me," Barnes said.
A project of WestCare California, the 28 bed transitional living facility will also help train veterans to go back into the workforce.
"It's hard to find a job. It's hard to get the training you need to get into a new career field if you don't even have a home to come home to," Congressman Jeff Denham said.
A veteran himself, Denham toured the site Tuesday and saw first hand, the little touches that will be a big deal.
"Dishes, TVs, couches, things that may just be sitting around your house, it makes a big difference to somebody else's life here," Denham said.
Richard is living proof.
"When you're out there on the street, it's easy to get lost out there. It's real easy. But having a place to come home to and you have mail come to, you can have people find you there, instead of not knowing how to contact you, it does a lot for your morale," Barnes said.
A veteran can live in the home for up to two years, while they receive the skills and training they need to get a job and eventually open a bank account.
One thing WestCare is in desperate need of is donations to help furnish the home.
You can adopt an actual room in memory or honor of your favorite veteran.
All other donations are greatly appreciated and accepted.