Benjamin Walker and Alan Demorett can tell you a lot of stories about life after the military.
“I got it in 2012. I’ve been in and out of the VA hospital with PTSD. I’ve been homeless for almost five years and living out of a car for three years,” Walker said. “In and out of homelessness in between drug addiction and rehabs,” Demorett added.
They say it was hard to get back on their feet, that is until they connected with Wounded Warriors of Collier County.
Wednesday, the organization open the first veteran transitional home in Collier County. Deemed the “Alpha House,” the home will help vets in need of a hand up and not a handout.
So far, two veterans are currently living in the Alpha House. Wounded Warriors says they’ve applied for a variance with the City of Naples so that they can allow more vets to live in the home.
Jaime Torres with Nextep says vets will also get support, structure and the opportunity to share if something is bothering them.
“It’s very tough at first,” said Torres. “Veterans, especially when they’re homeless, it’s hard for them to transition into a home because addiction, drinking, drugs, whatever it may be, they’re not used to this.”
The four-bedroom home comes fully furnished thanks to the help of generous donors like Daniel Melvin, founder of Party Hardy for Charity.
“I was in the service, I was in the Marine Corps, but I didn’t have to go into combat,” he said. “But I saw the effects of combat from what I was doing for the Marine Corps, so it’s much needed to have something so that these veterans don’t have to live outside.”
In fact, Wounded Warriors of Collier County says that’s where many of these vets are still living. Demorett and Walker said without these organizations they don’t know where they’d be.
“More than we could’ve asked for. I just…I can’t believe it,” Demorett said.
And they’re thankful for a second chance.
If you or someone you know would like to apply for the program, you can fill out an application here.