Home of the Brave II set to move to new house in Milford on Oct. 28.
Jessica Finan, executive director for the Home of the Brave Foundation, is ready to host a groundbreaking Oct. 28 at 10 a.m.
Shovels will be put into action to break ground on the new Home of the Brave II at 6632 Sharps Road, just east of Route 1.
Home of the Brave II is a shelter that serves homeless female veterans and their children. It has been in downtown Milford for the past 18 months. Now it will move next door to the original Home of the Brave shelter for homeless male veterans.
The building downtown is rented and Finan said they wanted to get out of the renting business and have their own house.
Construction was approved on Sept. 15 and the nonprofit organization has received a loan to start work.
“I’m very excited because it’s very hard to keep both campuses split, and have me split time between the two, so it will be great just to be able to walk out the front door of the male house and walk on over to the female house,” Finan said.
That will not be the case for those living in the houses. Finan said the women will not be allowed inside the men’s facility, and vice versa.
“They’ll be able to converse and we’ll have events on the property, but they won’t be able to go into the other facility,” she said. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”
Toni Bergfelder, secretary of the board of directors, takes a personal interest when it comes to the HOB II.
“A good friend encouraged me three years ago to help move the HOB forward to help female veterans, and I am ecstatic that we are actually able to build a Home of the Brave transitional home for these ladies,” Bergfelder said.
“Having been a female veteran since 1968 and observing the wonderful changes over the years in better acceptance, more opportunity for important jobs and improving health care, I am honored to be on the board of the Home of the Brave,” Bergfelder said.
The new shelter will be the same size as the current one, able to hold eight women, plus their children.
During its first year, HOB II hosted 10 female homeless veterans and 13 children. There are currently four women staying there.
Finan said the majority of women who stayed there in its first year have been Army veterans. She also said that many of the homeless veterans choose to stay at the Delaware facility because of its close proximity to so many other states.
Federal statistics indicate about one in 20 homeless veterans is a woman. And that number is expected to rise due to the large number of women who are serving in the armed forces.
As for the Home of the Brave II, the future wasn’t always so bright.
The Home of the Brave Foundation originally bought a foreclosed home on land on Griffith Lake Drive, outside of Milford, and wanted to renovate it as a shelter in 2013.
However, the project was resisted by neighbors. That, combined with the county Board of Adjustment’s decision to grant a land-use exemption for only two years, prompted the foundation to sell and set its sights elsewhere.
It ended up at 9 Causey Avenue in a house owned by the God’s Way to Recovery organization. The house had been a transitional place for homeless men.
Now, the Home of the Brave Foundation will finally have a house to call its own.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Finan said. “We can’t wait until we get to break ground.”