HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – In five years a small section of Huntington has gained almost a dozen veterans. It’s all thanks to an initiative to provide homes for veterans who are homeless.
Vietnam veteran James Hendrie used to be homeless. Thanks to an initiative through Habitat for Humanity, the only conflict he faces now is which home project he wants to finish next.
“Yeah it makes a difference than sleeping by the river,” Hendrie said. “Next month I’m putting a regular fence. I’m going to paint it white.”
David Michael is the Executive Director and CEO for Habitat for Humanity in Huntington. Michael explains building these energy efficient, affordable houses are taking homeless veterans off the streets and connecting them with support services.
“Providing an opportunity for our veterans that are in our community to have a home ownership opportunity has been a life changer for them,” Michael said. “For me, it’s a very humbling experience to be involved.”
Just like the peppers and tomatoes Hendrie has growing in his garden bring new life into his backyard, Michael says the Veterans Housing Initiative is bringing new life to veterans.
“The pride in ownership piece is just amazing with these guys,” Michael said.
It’s taken battle after battle for Hendrie to finally have some security.
“My wife and I worked really hard to have all this stuff right here. We went without. We went without food, we went without a lot of things to have what we’ve got,” Hendrie said.
Eleven homes have already been completed, more will be constructed as properties to build on are acquired.
The houses are also built with help from veterans as the “sweat equity” part of the initiative.