When veterans sign up to serve our country, they have no way of knowing what the future will hold for them. After deep sacrifices, some of them have trouble reintegrating into society upon their return, and they make up 11% of homeless people nationwide. Santa Cruz is no different; however, we have a special relationship with veterans through our very active Vets Hall crew.
“Homeless folks come in many different shapes and sizes and ways of being,” says Jack Tracey, Vets Hall board president. “[We’re] trying to break through that stereotype of trying to identify homeless in one way that allows them to say, ‘I don’t care about those people.’ They are somebody’s brother or sister or mother or father.”
In Santa Cruz, homeless vets have a place at our Vets Hall, where each Wednesday they can drop in for camaraderie, a meal, and groceries. Vets Hall employees and volunteers guide them in finding housing and jobs and getting help for other issues like mental or physical illness.
This year, the crew at Vets Hall actively sought—and eventually found—a home for homeless vets in the county. The owners of the former Jaye’s Timberlane Resort in Ben Lomond have agreed to sell the lovely property and its cabins and 5-bedroom home to the Vets Hall as a permanent home for Santa Cruz veterans.
“You can either wait for a miracle, or you can get everybody together and make a miracle happen,” says David Pedley, Vets Hall building manager.
Listen to this special interview with Jack Tracey and David Pedley about plans for Veterans Village, which will give a home to unhoused veterans in Santa Cruz County.
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