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Identity & Community

Brentwood Duplex to Provide Housing for Homeless Male Vets with Children

Erika Beras
90.5 WESA

A duplex on a residential street in Brentwood will now be a rotating home for homeless male veterans with children.

It’s Project Journey for Men’s first shelter, and it's emergency housing is for veterans in transition. The housing comes fully furnished. The men will receive assistance in getting benefits and getting a job and then 60-90 days later they will move out.

It's modeled on Project Journey, an initiative the nonprofit Veteran’s Leadership Program started in 2013 to provide emergency housing for female veterans. Trudy Friend, who runs that program, said they saw veterans needed more than a shelter but weren’t yet at the stage for permanent housing.

“We saw that need for women and children to have a safe emergency shelter so that they could transition into permanent housing," she said. "That way we could get our hands on them and help them with employment, children’s services, hooking up to welfare or the VA.”

There are seven houses for women.

Scott Mitchell, coordinator of Project Journey for Men, said the vets they are increasingly seeing are veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

“It's usually the younger population that’s coming in now with these types of problems, and me being an Iraqi vet I understand their struggles from overseas," Mitchell said. "So it's that bonding experience we can have with each other and the trust value which also really leads to success.”

Mitchell served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2009. He has spent the last year working with veterans, some of them homeless and sleeping on the street and some in shelters.

“I’m their opportunity of becoming something more," he said. "I help them and I assist them and I get mail sometimes — they don’t have anyone else a lot of the time. That’s why it's so essential to have a house like this that I can come and see them and help them and get them on their feet.”

They plan to begin screening candidates on Monday.

There are several other similar shelters in the Pittsburgh area.