ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A recent report shows there are over 70 homeless veterans in Monroe County. The Veterans Outreach Center has a homeless shelter for these vets, but only 48 beds.
That changes soon.
A huge donation from a local family will allow a full expansion and renovation in the coming days. It’s something organizers at the center have wanted for years.
Morgan and Kevin Stacey of Pittsford made the donation, with the desire to give back to the community by reaching the men and women who have served our country. That’s according to VOC spokesperson Laura Stradley; the family has politely declined an interview with News 8.
“These men have sacrificed, many of them have been in combat,” said Stradley. “We want to be able to say to them this is your home for as long as you need it.”
Stradley says this shelter, also known as the Richards House, could use a lot of work. Not only is it old, the environment isn’t inviting as she’d like it to be.
Veterans currently share bays that can hold four to six people at a time – not a lot of privacy.
This renovation will create more bays, so vets can have double or even single occupancy dorm rooms. 18 beds will be added.
“They’re all grown men, they deserve a space of their own, a space of privacy.”
She says more space is huge.
The kitchen also getting a makeover, and an elevator will be added for those who are disabled or with body pain.
Albert Manuel is a Marine Corps Veteran, whose been living here for about 5 months now. It’s been a tough journey but this has become his home.
“When I came in here I was destitute and broken emotionally,” said Manuel.
The other veterans became his family. They all do chores and play an important role in the living community.
But things like sharing a space with others can be tough.
“Sometimes you’re going to get along better than others.”
Now he’s ready for this change.
And at the end of the day, the relationships here matter most.
“You have no idea immensely, immensely,” he said. “So much support from VOC staff there’s too many to name.”
Veterans will be moved in a recently renovated building next door, while the renovation begins this fall. It’s expected to be complete by next spring.