The Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program and American Legion Post 45 came together on April 29 to give away two cars and a tiny home to three veterans who were in need.
The tiny home was donated to Air Force veteran William Bolton, who was facing eviction from his Woodstock residence. The tiny home was built by veterans from Cherokee County and students from Blessed Trinity High School through a grant from The Home Depot Foundation, which looks to aid veterans, train skilled tradespeople, and support those impacted by natural disasters.
"We were able to get a grant for most of the interior work, as well as some of the appliances," said Pro Supervisor with The Home Depot George Towle. "Blessed Trinity had started the project and The Home Depot Foundation helped to fund the rest of the project so it could be finished. The Home Depot Foundation does a lot to help veterans throughout Georgia."
Towle went on to describe the interior of the home, saying that the inside of the tiny home consists of a loft for a bed, a bathroom, living area, and kitchen appliances like a refrigerator and stove.
"Bolton has a couple of acres in Jasper, so hopefully he can settle down there and live worry free," Towle said.
A blanket and pillow made from around 1,100 plastic bags from Publix, Kroger, etc. were also given to Bolton. The blanket and pillow were provided by the Allen Temple AME Church in Woodstock. A group at the church made nine more to give to homeless veterans to sleep on.
Bolton said that he is very thankful for the kindness that has been shown to him from everyone involved in this project.
Veterans Davis Hawkins and Darius Roy were also given much needed help, with each receiving a car to help with everyday needs. Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program Director Jim Lindenmayer said the program has allowed them to donate more than a dozen cars to veterans in need since it started.
“This program really started when I was working with a disabled vet who had received a lifetime grant from Veteran Affairs, which offers to modify a vehicle for service connected veterans,” Lindenmayer said. “What we found out was his car was 20-something years old and it died. We found out he couldn’t get another one. He has a wife, two kids, house payment and he didn’t have enough to buy another car.”
Lindenmayer continued, saying that the majority of the vehicles that have been donated to veterans in need, came from other veterans who wanted to help. Through their partnership with Canton’s American Legion Post 45 car program, the CCHVP has been able to give cars to veterans in need throughout the county.
“Through a process with the DMV, since we are a non-profit organization, we, along with American Legion Post 45, take our paperwork with the vehicle being donated and re-title the car to us. We are able to give the vehicle to the veteran via a bill of sale for a dollar,” Lindenmayer said. “The vehicle is devalued, so all the veteran has to do is have a valid driver's license, pay for tax, pay for basic car needs and be honorably discharged from service.”
The criteria to meet the needs for a vehicle include being formerly homeless, where the veteran has to get a job and be stable, then prove to the CCHVP that they handle themselves. The other criteria a veteran can meet is being 70 percent service connected disabled with Veteran Affairs, with a letter coming from VA to provide proof, Lindenmayer said.
“A lot of this program is word of mouth,” Lindenmayer said. “For instance, Roy’s mother contacted me for help regarding Darius. People will usually call us saying they heard about this program from somebody else."
The CCHVP also received food donations recently, which helped to provide food to over 15 veterans and their families. The CCHVP runs a food pantry out of the American Legion Post 45. This pantry helps to feed about 20 veteran families a month, as well as homeless veterans.
“We don’t do charity,” Lindenmayer said. “These men and women earned it. Whether they served for two years or twenty years, they served their country and didn’t ask for anything. It’s a great feeling knowing that we both watch and help them reach a new plateau and become self sufficient again.”