AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Homeless men who served this country will now have a place to live. It’s all thanks to the generosity of a couple that bought a home.
The home is on D’Antignac Street. And the project is about halfway complete.
We caught up with a group of men volunteering to complete work on the home Tuesday afternoon. They were laying bricks to surround the home, part of a weekly task that they hope leads to making the home turn key ready.
Community Supporter Arlean Edwards Williams is the driving force behind the mission.
“I came here as a result of Hurricane Katrina and lost everything. So, for about four or five months, my 14-year-old and I were homeless,” she shared.
After spending nights in her car and a local hotel, the downtown Augusta home means everything to Williams.
She told us of the beginning process, “My husband is a veteran and Rick Herring of ForcesUnited was Executive Director of Action Ministries when I met him. He told me about veterans sleeping in their cars and I couldn’t fathom that.”
Williams and her husband connected with Men on Mission, a group of volunteers at First Baptist Church of Augusta. Working in teams weekly, the group devotes time and labor to what will be known as the Avery house, a place for homeless veterans who are men.
“It was somewhere between a salvage or tear down and start over project,” said Volunteer Allen Hardin. “It has good bones. The exterior was real rough.”
“We always believe that we can show our faith through works,” Cone Underwood, another volunteer told us. “As Allen told you, we started off helping members of our own church family. It spread into the community. If we have a specialty it’s building wheelchair ramps.”
The men have been working on the Avery home, which is named after the woman who sold Williams the home, for the past year and they tell us about a year’s work lies ahead of them.
Williams said the project, which costs about $50,000, also includes grants and other donations that will one day help a dozen men on a rotating basis.
“A lot of times we go through issues that other people just don’t understand and me being a veteran, I have a keen insight into what my other veterans go through,” said Jerry Williams.
Williams wants to put out a charge to other non-profit organizations. She said find a home, renovate it and house someone who is homeless.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins