11 Nov Faces of Good360: Veteran Finds New Hope, New Home through Building Supply Donation Project
Penn served four years in the Navy after being inspired by his older brother, who did the same. After he left the Navy he ran into some financial hardships and found himself living in and out of hotels.
“I stopped communicating with everybody because I didn’t want anyone to know how dire my situation was. I was ashamed,” he said.
He is no longer ashamed.
And though his new home might not be perfect yet, it’s his, and that’s what matters most.
Penn is not alone. There are nearly 70,000 homeless veterans in the United States.
Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) of Indiana, Inc. is trying to change this statistic with help from Good360, in partnership with The Home Depot. This United Way nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness among veterans and their families has received bi-monthly donations from Good360 for HVAF’s 14 houses and three apartment buildings, which house a total of 205 homeless veterans. The donations—including sinks, faucets, cabinets, and a wide range of building supplies—were provided through the Framing Hope Product Donation Program, a partnership between Good360, The Home Depot and The Home Depot Foundation in which local stores donate product to local nonprofit around the country.
“Product donations through Good360 and Home Depot made an enormous impact on helping to improve the lives of our homeless veterans at HVAF,” says HVAF Chief Operating Officer Ron Shelley. “We have received much-needed household items, such as, lamps and toasters as well as building supplies. These donated items would otherwise have to be purchased so this allows us to use our funds elsewhere in providing services and programs to the clients we see each day.”
For veterans like Penn, these donations come at the most needed time. “They helped me put a roof over my head when I was struggling,” Penn says. After the help from HVAF and Good360, Penn was able to move out of the HVAF facility and into his own home in August. He also has a full-time job and was awarded a grant to go back to school full-time for heating and air conditioning technician training.
“I want to display my gratitude to Home Depot and Good360 and places like that for providing a means for people truly in need to get back on their feet when times are tough. I truly appreciate it,” he says.
HVAF’s relationship with The Home Depot and Good360 spans 5 years. In 2012, Team Depot volunteers renovated the LaFever House (home to four veterans). That same year more than 150 people gathered for a celebration and formal dedication of the Manchester Apartments that was made possible with a $300,000 grant from The Home Depot. HVAF also partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, United Way of Central Indiana, The National Bank of Indianapolis and Halstead Architects in the $3.2 million, nine-month renovation of the Manchester Apartments building. The fully occupied facility houses 51 veterans, including four women. Team Depot volunteers also sent 80 volunteers to do the work in addition to supplying items like shelving, blinds and bathroom fixtures.
This year, Team Depot volunteers put their efforts on HVAF’s Udell House (home to four veterans) where they renovated bathrooms and flooring. On a separate project, building supply materials helped transform five offices and two storage rooms into a very large conference room known as The Home Depot Multipurpose Room with a kitchen at HVAF’s downtown Indianapolis headquarters.
It is because of great programs like these that Good360 is able to build a bridge to connect much-needed supplies from generous corporate donors to nonprofits that can distribute them directly to veterans in need.
Debra Des Vignes from HVAF contributed to this article.