SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — There were 580,466 people facing homelessness in America as of Jan. 2020. Of that, nearly 40,000 were veterans.
A Veteran’s Club Inc. program is hoping to address the issue and determine the root cause. It's called the Veterans Village.
What You Need To Know
- Veterans Club Inc. is helping homeless veterans get back on their feet
- Veterans Village is made up of six tiny homes in Shelbyville, Kentucky
- Veterans can live in the homes for up to a year
The six tiny homes on Bradshaw Street are reserved for veterans who need help getting back on their feet.
You’ll most likely find Vince Self at Veterans Village nowadays. Self served six years in the Marine Corps before being honorably discharged.
“It saved my life, it made me grow up fast and it was a good thing,” Self said. “I served honorably and I'm proud of it.”
Self’s life then took a turn as he spent years addicted to drugs.
“You go to Walmart and you see somebody that lives on this side of the tracks that you buy dope from,” Self said. “I'm like, 'Oh man I hope he don't say anything, I got my wife and kids at Walmart with me.' It just eats you up.”
Eventually, Self ended up homeless, living in a trailer with no running water. That's why he decided to apply for Veterans Village.
“What is your idea of happiness? I said man, I just want to come home, sit in my chair, watch TV and go to bed with a clear mind. That's it, that's all I want. Without any guilt, not having to worry about where to get drugs,” Self said.
The Veteran’s Club program gives those who served a second chance at life. In March of 2020, the first veteran moved into the tiny home community.
Veterans can stay up to a year while participating in different educational and support groups including mental health education, faith-based programs, and financial literacy.
“On any given night there's 40,000 veterans that don't have a place to sleep and we want to know and actually address the reasons why versus putting vets in a building and checking a box and sayingthey are no longer homeless tonight so we can rest easy. We don't want to do that,” said Jeremy Harrell, founder and CEO of Veteran’s Club Inc.
The program hopes to address the cause of homelessness while providing permanent housing for those who served their fellow countrymen.
For Self, it paid off. He's been living in Veterans Village for half a year and has been sober for 120 days.
“I'm not perfect, I'm far from perfect but I'm not high and I can honestly say this whole time I've been here it's the first time I've slept in years and I have not thought about getting high one time,” Self said.
Since being sober, Self has even restored relationships with his daughter and son.
The Veteran’s Club Inc program continues to take applications for Veterans Village. You can find more information on Veterans Village here.