ARCADIA, LA (KSLA) - Veterans helping veterans. Ouachita Regional Veterans Association (ORVA) has a vision of ending homelessness in the ArkLaTex.
More than two dozen volunteers spent their Saturday in Arcadia, helping to clear land for what will soon become a community for homeless veterans.
“It’s huge to see. We were supposed to be here at 8 o’clock this (Saturday) morning, and it was just the leadership and those running heavy equipment. So we thought 10 people maybe, there’s 25 people already here first thing this morning, so it’s just amazing it did my heart good,” said Project 4 Hope Founder & Board Member, Steve Lindsley.
The excitement echoed by fellow Board member, Randy Campbell, “It’s wonderful that the community has come together, we’re talking as far as Shreveport and all the way to Monroe is where all these volunteers are coming from.”
Project 4 Hope will be a 15 home community to help veterans from all walks of life get the help they need to get back on their feet.
“We realized there was a need to address the homelessness issues that are going on, and as we learned more, we found out really for women it was a big issue. There’s a lot of programs out there particularly in the Shreveport area that are there to help men, but there’s not much for women,” said Lindsley, “The goal is to allow the veterans to assimilate with each other to get to know each other, but then to have a safe place to come to.”
Lindsley continued, “A lot of them just need to start they become down and discouraged and if anybody deserves that it’s our veterans.”
Veterans will be provided with case management, financial budgeting, help finding jobs, and continuing their education.
They can live in the homes up to two years for free, but the goal is to find them permanent housing.
“That’s what we’re hoping for, is that it is life-changing for the veterans that are homeless and that we can get them back on their feet and they can become productive to the community,” said Campbell, “We know what it’s like to get down on hard times.”
Most of the organizers are veterans themselves or have loved ones who’ve served.
With their relentless push, this group hopes to be a blueprint for change both near and far.
“Our intent is to make this a show place for the state. It’s going to be top notch all the way, so we would love for the community to partner with us. We have to pay off the property by the end of March so donations are needed definitely to finish paying it off, I think around 20,000 less we’re 3/4ths of the way through that,” explained Lindsley.
Once the land is clear, construction will begin on the community center, followed by the first 5 houses.
“The intention is to allow particular organizations to sponsor a whole house. The houses are around $20,000 a piece,” Lindsley said.