Since we first opened the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center in 2009 we have seen, first hand, the problems our veterans face in their everyday lives, most of which can be resolved by a short term, one time, level of assistance. Some of these issues require a more detailed, long-term effort for resolution. We have found that some veterans are in need of living arrangements, and have been unable to find a place of their own, and are homeless. We set out on a mission to correct this issue, and established the Veterans Reintegration Project.
The first phase of the project was fundraising. We appealed to the community for sufficient monetary donations to purchase a building that would not only provide office space, but also be able to shelter homeless veterans until more permanent housing could be obtained. In 2014, with the help of local businesses, organizations, clubs, churches, and individuals, we were able to purchase a house that fit our needs. Unfortunately there was a boundary line issue that forced us to move the building 25 feet. Thanks to a grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement, the house was moved, and was then brought up to code.
Denny Hutton, a military veteran, who was a strong supporter of this project, as well as commander of VFW Post 10804, worked long and hard for the Center to be recognized as a 501c3 charitable organization. The formal dedication of the Center occurred in April 2014. Because of all the hard work Denny had done, we named the shelter portion of the building The Hutton House. Over the last few years this four bedroom, two and one-half baths house has been has been instrumental in helping 55 veterans, who had been living in their cars, get back on their feet and returned to society. Needless to say, without the generosity of all the volunteers at the Center, this could not have been possible.
While the veterans are at the Hutton House, they receive food, clothing, job placement, counseling, VA disability help, and whatever else is needed FREE OF CHARGE. The average length of stay at the Hutton House is five months. It is important to note that this is not a hand-out but rather a Hand-Up.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A homeless veteran who has been honorably discharged from the military, who is willing to work toward improving his/her life situation is welcome to apply for admission to the Hutton House reintegration project. All applicants are interviewed by members of the house committee who are charged with determining if a veteran meets the requirements to participate in the program. Prior to entering the program, each qualified veteran receives an in-depth evaluation, and is presented with a written detailed plan geared to helping the veteran achieve an independent living status. Upon agreement to commit to the plan, the veteran will be accepted to the program on a probationary status. In the event the veteran fails or refuses to adhere to the plan, he/she will be discharged from the program. The probationary period is typically three weeks. Qualified veterans are provided with their own room, food, clothing, and whatever else is needed to ensure a smooth transition back into society. The veteran is also responsible for helping to keep the building and grounds in a neat and appropriate condition.
The building itself is shared by both the Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center offices and The Hutton House living area. The Hutton House section consists of four bedrooms, two and one half bathrooms, a common living area, a complete kitchen, and a laundry room. The living room contains a common use television, completer and printer and is shared by all residents. The Center provides the residents with food, cooking and dining utensils, cleaning and laundry supplies, and personal products as needed.
If you are an honorably discharged veteran, who had served for more than 180 consecutive days on active duty (training days are not counted in the 180), you may be interested in applying for this program.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Many veterans have already achieved success through this program, and have gotten their lives back on track. We need to keep this program in operation as long as there are veterans in need. Although most of the veterans who utilize our services live in Horry and Brunswick counties, we will assist any veteran who walks in the door no matter where they are from. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated since all of our funding comes from the community, and everyone who works at the Center is a volunteer.