Volunteers working to beautify Home Front Veterans Community

Volunteers working to beautify Home Front Veterans Community
Volunteers working to beautify Home Front Veterans Community(WCTV)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Armed with paintbrushes and smiles, volunteers are working to make an apartment complex for disabled veterans into a home they can be proud of.

They’ve finished painting one of two buildings at Home Front Veterans Community, which houses about 50 disabled veterans who were previously homeless.

The Big Bend Homeless Coalition runs Home Front, but didn’t have the budget to hire a painting company.

So, dozens of volunteers from the community picked up their paintbrushes and stepped in to help.

“They’re willing to make the ultimate sacrifice,” said Michael Solomon with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition. “So the least we could do is give them a very nice-looking place that they call their home.”

This is the first time the Home Front Veterans Community has been painted since the buildings were built in 1974.

“As a nonprofit, a lot of the time your resources are so scarce,” Annie Rada, development coordinator with the Big Bend Homeless Coalition said. “Just very basic maintenance stuff takes up most of your funding. So we generally don’t have the supplies to pull off something like this.”

This new paint job is all thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers, spearheaded by Rada.

Even some of the residents of Home Front stepped up on their ladders to put a new coat of paint on this building.

Rick Brown has been at Home Front for the last year and he struggled with homelessness after his family home in Marianna burned down.

“Back in the days, I’ve spent nights underneath bridges, sometimes under a tree,” Brown said.

After bouncing from shelter to shelter, he finally landed here, with a permanent roof over his head.

Home Front operates on a sliding scale, with some veterans paying nothing at all.

“I think it’s great,” Brown said.

Solomon said it’s not just about providing shelter, but also a community where veterans can feel supported and understood.

“So many of these people who formed this lifelong bond meet here,” Solomon said. “They have a shared experience, not just with the military, but also experiencing chronic homelessness. They come here, they start healing together.”

Volunteers wrapped up the big painting project this past weekend, but are hoping to recruit more people to do landscaping and maintenance on these buildings.

You can send an email to volunteer@bigbendhc.org if you’re interested in volunteering.

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