has a ten year history of working to end veteran homelessness including the running of a housing shelter for local veterans.
In America, about 154,000 Veterans are homeless on a typical night.
According to The National Coalition For Homeless Veterans, the most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, “veterans helping veterans” groups.
Veterans are at a greater risk of becoming homeless due to a number of factors including having uniquely military skills not needed in the civilian sector, major stress, PTSD and other combat-related health issues, minimal income due to unemployment, and a shortage of safe, affordable housing.
For over eight years, NROTC has been operating a shelter in the East Baltimore, Maryland area to help our local veterans in need.
“My name is Earl Woodward. I served as a Marine E-4 Corporal. I served nine months in Vietnam, (1973-1974), before becoming disabled. God presented me with the opportunity to get help from NROTC. I was really down on my luck and this organization truly helped me get back on my feet. NROTC gave me a roof over my head and gave me a job working for this great organization which allowed me to give back to other veterans that were also down on hard times. I will always be here for NROTC because I know they will always be here for me and other veterans.”
Earl F. Woodward
“I’m a Navy vet who served from 77 to 80 with an honorable discharge. I was living in the woods for over two years in a tent with no help. NROTC found me and gave me a place to live and a job. Now I am back on my feet and I have my own place to live and a job. I support the NROTC… You should too!
David W. Randolph
“I did two years in the Army from 1970 to 1972. After a scrape with the law and release from jail I needed to show my parole officer a permanent address within two days to avoid another 6 month stay behind bars. NROTC took me in immediately. We satisfied the parole officer. I found work, and now I have my own apartment and I am doing good. Thank You NROTC for helping me when I really needed it!”
“I was in the Army for nine years. I had bad luck in 2009. I lost my job and ended up living on the streets. One day at the end of 2010 NROTC found me and gave me a place to live and a job. I still work for NROTC. Thank You NROTC!”
NROTC believes that providing transitional living and supportive services to help veterans recover from addiction and/or life’s misfortunes quickly so they can return to a successful, independent lifestyle is the right thing to do.
This being our first attempt at running a transitional housing shelter, we learned much about helping at-risk veterans including the fact that we could not assure the successful recovery of every homeless, addicted or needy veteran that passed through our door. The good news is, “with a special thank you to a few of our local churches who are operating food pantries”, with much patience and many headaches, we were able to help most of them… at least to some degree.
One USMC Sergeant who was hit with an IED in Iraq and upon his release from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, moved-in with us, and over a period of months while working with local state child support services, due to the housing we were providing, he was able to gain full custody of his eight year old son from his estranged drug and alcohol addicted spouse. We were also able to accommodate his son.
Another USMC Sergeant, who had also been hit by an IED and belly-shot with an AK47, came to us after his release from Walter Reed Army Medical Center with severe pain and psych med problems. He appeared to us as making improvement, but unfortunately died from a unintentional self-inflicted drug overdose. We were very hurt by his death but did see to it that he received a proper burial with full USMC military services.
Another, a Vietnam era Air Force veteran, was chronically homeless, headstrong and too proud to accept help from his mother, his brother and wife. We had him for a few days here and a few days there when the snow was bad, we treated him to a fantastic Christmas dinner and other meals, a place to shower, some comradeship with other veterans and a nice pair of arctic boots and clean dry socks to replace his soaking tennis shoes.
Another, a local homeless fellow came to us with a medical emergency of sorts. He had just had a hernia operation. Upon his release from the hospital his doctor said to him, “You must have bed rest for seven days or else you could die”. He had been sleeping in cars and on park benches. Although he was not a veteran, we had a bed available and took him in for 10 days. He did thank us for saving his life.
Another homeless person who we have sheltered on a longer term basis from time to time, is also not a veteran but lost his brother in Vietnam. Typically we demand a DD214, proof of military discharge, as part of intake, but we have made a few exceptions for those who were desperate, with no alternative except the streets or the woods, and we could not turn away.
There have been others.
The main result of NROTC operating our shelter is that we have been able to help a number of our local veterans and some have gained employment and are now LIVING INDEPENDENTLY!
Operating our first shelter was a success story that we are very proud of!
Reluctantly we have recently shut our shelter down due to insurance costs and donation dollars being down. We are considering a new local location and perhaps other locations around the USA. Any future Housing Shelter Program activity has been put on hold until donation dollars improve. You can help by donating today!
Celebrating Over A Decade of Service