U.S. Coast Guard veteran John Janedy fell on hard times and was living in his truck, but now he has a kitchen to make meals, along with all of the other things many people take for granted like a roof, a bed, and heat.
The 70-year-old has taken up residence at a 5-bedroom home on Cape Cod, along with four other veterans, including Vietnam veteran Debora Kunze, who was on the verge of homelessness this year.
”At the beginning it was scary because I technically have never been on my own," Kunze said.
Slowed by the pandemic, neighborhood opposition and a court battle, the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center spent five years to trying to build the five-bedroom home in Dennis, Massachusetts. It opened in February.
”They've served their country. They've fallen upon hard times. We’re just trying to help them out,” said Joe Taylor of the veterans outreach center.
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A recent federal study found more than 830 homeless veterans in Massachusetts. On the Cape, as many as 50 of them are believed to be living on the streets any given night.
”Four out of the five residents in here have jobs. But the fact that the cost of living and other problems that they’re facing they just can’t support themselves," Taylor said.
Each of the veterans has their own bedroom and bath with large common spaces throughout the two-story house. All of them are screened and given one year in the house to get their lives together, hopefully moving on and making room for others.
”I’m thinking about getting my 100 ton captain's license," Janedy said.
”At this point, I just want a place of my own,” Kunze said.
This is only the latest project for the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center. There are three others in the works, as the need is that great.