Housing unit for veterans opens Wednesday
Posted at: 09/26/2012 6:32 AM
| Updated at: 09/28/2012 1:24 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
Thousands of U.S. servicemen and women find themselves homeless when they return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but some people in Rochester are trying to change that.
The Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School commands a major spot on the Rochester horizon near Highland Park. And now, a building that was once used for student housing will be home to 12 homeless veterans. Veterans like Marine Clifford Bundick who said he was a lost soul.
Clifford Bundick, Marine, said, “In my case I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to go through the program. But I did. I'm so grateful thanks to God.”
And sailor Chris Whitson.
Chris Whitson, Navy Veteran, said, “I've had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past that just took me down the wrong path. My sister, there's not enough room for me to stay with her so I'm homeless.”
They joined Marine David Ellwanger to be among the first veterans to call these apartments home. At Wednesday’s news conference, community leaders said this program promises to bring dignity and security to veterans who don't have a home.
Rev. Marvin McMickle, Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School President, said, “There ought to be some phrases that don't exist. There ought to be some circumstances that are not tolerable. Homeless and veterans are one of those phrases.”
Major General John Batiste, Retired U.S. Army, said, “How we treat out veterans and their family members defines our national character.”
Retired two-star General John Batiste said America has been at war for 11 years and as a nation has fallen way short for what we should be doing for veterans.
Batiste said, “146,000 homeless veterans as we stand here now. When we go to bed tonight, that's a huge amount of humanity, Americans, with no place to go.”
This is a partnership between the Divinity School, the Veterans Outreach Center, Pathstone, and Tempro, the homeless housing agency of Temple B'rith Kodesh. Mayor Tom Richards’s father was a graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School.
The veterans get continued support from the Veterans Outreach Center. They have to be working toward job skill readiness or attending school. Colgate Rochester is on a major bus route and the Veterans Outreach Center is less than a mile away.