The November 2022 Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is The Journey Home, located in Winchester, Indiana. The organization is dedicated to helping end veteran homelessness by providing a place for veterans in need to live and through education and support.
About The Journey Home
The Journey Home (TJH) uses three different strategies to help veterans in need, according to Theresa Miller, Transitional Services Supervisor.
The first is the facility itself, which provides 10 beds at any given time that can be used by veterans experiencing homelessness. Over three to six months, TJH works with the veterans to help them find permanent housing.
Second, they support veterans who have made the change to permanent housing or who need support through outreach. Veterans can use the facility to do laundry, get food or supplies, find resources, and more.
Third, TJH makes itself available in the aftermath of natural disasters – like 2022’s Kentucky floods and Hurricane Ian – to support the veterans in those areas.
“It doesn’t matter where they come from,” said Miller. “We just want to help keep them off the streets as best we can.”
Each year, about 50-55 veterans come through TJH’s doors.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but when you think that they’re only here for three to six months each, it’s a lot,” she said.
Veterans can be referred to TJH through the Veterans Administration (VA), or can come to the program on their own.
Serving Veterans in Need
“We’re here to help the veterans and take them off the street,” said Miller. “In the US, there’s a 22 per day suicide rate for veterans. I’d like to see that lowered to zero. We all would, of course, but to me, taking one off the street is one less.”
Miller noted that veterans may be homeless for a wide variety of reasons, and TJH’s job is to be empathetic to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
As a lifelong social worker, she said working at TJH has given her an opportunity to see the positive in her field.
“Working as a case manager, you don’t see success as often as you would like. And in here you get it every three to six months whenever you house somebody,” she said. “Here, I’m surrounded by all these people that are just absolutely phenomenal, and we’re just family. It’s just a big family atmosphere.”
Giving to The Journey Home
The funds from the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission will be put to good use to purchase items and services needed for the veterans. TJH also plans to purchase a box truck to assist with moving veterans to and from their current homes.
Community members also have several options for supporting the work of The Journey Home.
- Donate online: Visit the organization’s website.
- Send a check: Mail it to 325 S Oak St., STE 101, Winchester, IN 47394