The Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC), a local transportation advocacy organization is urging the public to help homeless veterans this holiday season. TMACC is hosting their 2nd Annual Veterans Holiday Gift Drive.
Last year, they received over 200 gifts for the patients of the Coatesville VA Medical Center. This year, TMACC is providing gifts to the Veterans Multi-Service Center, a non-profit organization which offers supportive services to veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. And, they’re asking for more to fill an urgent need in the County.
During the annual US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Point in Time Count in January 2015, it was recorded that there were 299 homeless Veterans in Chester County, residing in local shelters or at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Coatesville, PA in homeless residential rehabilitation programs run by VA or by the non-profits Veterans Multi-Service Center and Fresh Start Foundation. Through these programs, veterans throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania work toward permanent, independent housing.
Through Operating Base Cecilia in Coatesville, PA, the Veterans Multi-Service Center offers supportive services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing through the nationwide VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant program. The aim is to quickly re-house homeless veterans and to prevent homelessness among those veterans who are at imminent risk. In the last two years, approximately 400 veterans and families have been served through this program.
Although this is a substantial number of people served, VMC’s Deputy Executive Director, Maura “Mo” Gillen, says there’s always more work that needs to be done and more resources that can be provided. “At this point, there are many veterans in various programs on the Coatesville VA Medical Center, working toward placement in permanent housing. We work with the VA and other groups to help our veterans find homes. The gifts that TMACC and the community are providing will really help veterans get started in new permanent homes,” said Gillen.
TMACC is accepting gifts until December 16, 2015. They are looking for household items such as, blankets, sheets, cleaning supplies and dishes, to help fill approximately 70 homes for veterans.
TMACC interacts with many veterans who use Coatesville LINK. They hope its members and the general public will make this holiday special with their gift drive. Their goal this year is 500 gifts, double the amount of their goal last year. Tim Phelps, Executive Director of TMACC, thinks they will be able to achieve their goal. “We have a lot of supportive members who are appreciative of our vets. With their help, and help from the public, we can easily get to our goal.”
For more information and a list of suggested gifts, visit their website www.tmacc.org.