DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa (WHP) — According to the Department of Labor and Industry, there are roughly 800,000 Veterans in Pennsylvania.
Of those, nearly 1,000 are homeless.
So, a new Veterans service facility is opening up in Harrisburg to help Central Pennsylvania’s homeless Veterans.
The Veterans Multi-Service Center was founded by Veterans for Veterans.
Their new location is the largest office they have here in Central Pennsylvania and VMC is hoping to expand its reach.
“VMC prides itself on going where the need is and unfortunately there is a growing need here in Central Pennsylvania,” said Joe Brooks, Executive Director for the Veterans Multi-Service Center.
Just this year, VMC helped house 144 Veteran families.
One such Veteran is Malik Penns.
“I was actually a homeless Vet and they found me housing in a week and a half, very fast. When I got here, the ball, it’s like they kicked it like a soccer ball, it was just straight rolling,” said Malik Penns, a Veteran.
Besides housing, VMC also focuses on food insecurity, job placement, and job training.
“I’m in college right now for IT so they’re helping me find resources to do internships for that,” said Penns.
But, it goes beyond job and financial support..
As Harold Pelzer, a Veteran explained, “You know, there’s a stigmatism in our communities surrounding mental health.”
For Pelzer, VMC helped get him medication and treatment for his mental health problems.
“I feel like I can speak with them in a non-judge mental zone because most people don’t know what we’ve gone through,” said Pelzer.
VMC also says that servicewomen access Veteran services at a lower rate than their male counterparts.
So, with this new, larger building, they hope to expand their reach to more women.
“I want to communicate to other women Veterans, like myself, that we have access points and we’re well aware of the need, so that they can come down and get the services that they’re entitled to,” said Vandy Rider, Director of Supportive Services for Veteran Families for Veterans Multi-Service Center.
And, for any Veterans nervous about asking for help
“We are all Vets so even us in the program and them giving the treatment so we’ve all been through the same things,” said Pelzer.
“We are family, we are brothers and sisters. there’s no reason anyone should be embarrassed to come down here because we most likely went through it or are still feeling it,” said Penns.
The new location for VMC is 21 S Third Street and it is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.