Snow doesn't stop church program for homeless veterans

Snow doesn't stop church program for homeless veterans

EUGENE, Ore. — Snow didn't stop a local church from opening its doors to help homeless veterans Friday.

The Westside Apostolic has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul and Food for Lane County to help local veterans.

For the last few years, the Hope Center has been targeting homeless servicemen and women and helping them get back on their feet.

Every Friday morning the facility opens its doors.  On average, 50 to 80 guests take advantage of the free meal between 10 a.m. and noon.

Other offerings are also available.  There is warm clothing that is donated, a nurse from the VA gives those needing immunizations medical attention, and a crises counselor is on site.

But the most popular service is housing assistance.

“We have the reintegration team that comes here so they actually hook them up and let them know what programs are available.  Just to see one person get off the street and get housing makes it worth it,” says Pastor James Rabe.

Once placed, the Hope Center helps furnish veterans’ new homes. 

Randy Merritt recently moved into a new place.  He had previously been living on the street.

“It’s hard to stay out of trouble being on the street. I’ve done a complete 180.  I went from being homeless and now I’m in my own apartment,” Merritt says.  

Donations to the Hope Center can be made by calling the Westside Apostolic at (541) 334-HOPE or (541) 729-9167.