ORHF Recognized for helping to improve homeless Veterans lives
by Karen Jowers, ArmyTimes
On September 20, 2012 Operation Renewed Hope Foundation was recognized for unique opportunities to improve quality of life for military families and homeless Veterans. Deborah accepts Newman’s Own Award and a check for $15,000 in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. The competition is sponsored by Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Gannett Government Media Corp., which publishes the Military Times newspapers. There were 172 (164?) applicants and only six received this prestigious award.
Since its inception in 1999, the Newman’s Own awards have recognized 145 programs with grants totaling $825,000. The late Paul Newman, who founded Newman’s Own and its charitable works, “was so proud of this award,” said Tom Indoe, president and chief operating officer of Newman’s Own, Inc. “He felt the people in the groups that focus on the military represent the best America has to offer, people giving of themselves to help military families.”
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, thanked the organizations for their work. “When you think about what we have to do to take care of this generation of veterans, we’re going to be in this for a long time,” he said. “We certainly want you all in that fight with us, both while we remain in contact with the enemy and well beyond.
• Operation Renewed Hope Foundation has helped 25 homeless veterans get housing in the Washington, D.C., area since it was founded late last year.
“We’re pulling them out of tents in Woodbridge [Va.], shelters in Alexandria,” and housing “couch surfers” who have been moving from one home to another, said the group’s founder, retired Army LTC Deborah Snyder.
The group helps veterans get or stay in their housing through advocacy, interest-free loans and corporate leases, working with government, businesses, nonprofits and individuals to renovate and furnish donated and discounted homes in the area.
The organization also provides “wraparound services,” to help homeless vets get on their feet, such as financial management, employment assistance and pro-bono medical and dental care.
This $15,000 will help subsidize rent for some struggling veterans to help them avoid eviction, said Snyder, now an Army civilian employee. “I’ve had a good life with the Army,” she said. “I want to be able to give back.”
Army veteran Lloyd Clarke said Snyder helped him when government agencies did not. After losing his job, he and his invalid wife were sleeping in their car and in shelters. She’s now in a nursing home.
Clarke said he was in a shelter for more than four months. “When Deborah found me, I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t know how much longer I could take it.”
She helped him make connections that enabled him to move into his house within six weeks. She has since helped him get a haircut, furniture, and a job interview. “She keeps following up. She doesn’t just cut you loose,” he said.