Operation Stand Down Kentucky building affordable housing for veterans
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Operation Stand Down Kentucky is a non-profit organization that began helping veterans to manage money.
“Primarily, what we started off doing was fiduciary work - we manage veterans' money. If you get any sort of a check from the VA, and you’re deemed incompetent, they deem you mentally unfit for whatever reason, you’re forced to have a fiduciary manage your money. Prior to us coming along, your options were either a trusted friend or family member, a bank or a lawyer. Maybe there weren’t any, as far as I know, nonprofit organizations providing the service to veterans. So we do that, we take over their accounts, we manage their money, we pay their bills, we keep them from going broke and homeless. A lot of these folks have an issue in life where they don’t need to manage their own money, whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling addiction. We’ve seen folks that are addicted to scratch off tickets. I’ve seen all kinds of stuff. I’ve seen a veteran that made 1800 dollars a month that was living under a bridge because he thought that’s where he belonged. You know, we help these folks manage their money, and we connect them with other resources that they may need to help get them back up on their feet,” said Justin Howard, Chief Operations Officer.
Now, along with helping veterans on a financial aspect, OSDKY has started working on providing veterans with affordable housing.
“We have started building Tiny Homes. It’s become more popular, the tiny home, over the past couple of years. A lot of people like it because it’s less upkeep, it’s less to have to worry about taking care of. And it’s also a lot cheaper to heat and cool. And all of these things really matter to a lot of our veterans, especially the lower-income veterans. So right now we’re actually working on building our first Tiny Home out now in Allen County," added Howard.
Due to COVID-19, the nonprofit is having trouble finding volunteers to help them build the tiny home.
“We are out at our property in Allen County almost every weekend, laying block for the foundation for this first tiny house. So if they have, you know, no qualms about getting their hands dirty and wanting to come out, and then especially if they know a little bit about construction, they can reach out to us at any of those avenues like before and we can put them to work out there.”
OSDKY also has an open spot in their transitional housing located in Bowling Green.
“We have one transitional house in Bowling Green right now. I actually have a room available in that transitional house. That is kind of a different situation, that is for people that maybe need somewhere to kind of get up on their feet, it’s a little cheaper, all they are paying for is basically a room and some utilities, and it minimizes their bills, and it allows them to kind of get back up on their feet while they’re looking for something else,” added Howard.
In addition to volunteering to help build the tiny home, they are also looking for volunteers to help with fundraising.
“We are looking for folks that are knowledgeable about fundraising in times like COVID, where it’s not easy to necessarily have the traditional events that we would have or outdoor events - lots of people, lots of close proximity. It’s hard to do that right now. So we’re trying to come up with more innovative ways to fundraise online through social media. So if they want to volunteer in that capacity. The one thing that we do have going on right now is Titan Stadium, Nissan Stadium down in Nashville allows nonprofits to come down there and fundraise. Now they are running at limited capacities because they have to because of restrictions, but we bring volunteers down there to run concession stands and for every volunteer that we bring, the organization gets so much money. We can then use those funds to buy materials. So we do still have a couple of opportunities to fundraise,” added Howard.
One fundraising opportunity for the organization includes an event on October 29 at Spine Stop Chiropractic in Scottsville. They will be having a customer appreciation day and visits will be free, but all donations that are given that day will be given to Operation Stand Down. All of the other Spine Stop locations including the one in Bowling Green will be donating new patient sign up fees to Operation Stand Down as well.
If you would like to volunteer with OSDKY they will have a booth at Spine Stop Chiropractic on October 29. You can also visit their Facebook page and message them.
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