In Your Corner: Homeless Veterans

By Ryan Elijah

July 8, 2010 Updated Jul 8, 2010 at 4:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Each year Fort Wayne sees a larger number of homeless military veterans. We sat down with a few of the men at the Sheperd's House, a Fort Wayne facility that's growing to meet their needs.

"I'm not a bad person, I just made some bad decisions", said Randy Walker. He is one of over 20 military veterans that now call the Sheperd's House in Fort Wayne home.

The building provides a longer term option for men, some come through a community corrections program, others are just trying to rehabilitate their lives. After being in the military for over 16 years, drug and alcohol addiction led to Randy being homeless. Barb and Lonnie Cox founded the house in 1998 and just 3 years ago opened a homeless Vet suite with 8 beds, they never expected it would grow so fast.

"They've lost hope, but they have absolute respect", Barb Cox told Elijah.

Word has slowly grown among veterans, some have been found living under Fort Wayne bridges or in tents. Ted Wright has been homeless for the better part of 30 years and knows there are many more like him, who need a place to get their life back together. "There are thousands of homeless veterans out there, it's not just supervised living, it's Christian living", replied Ted Wright.

The Christmas dream at the Sheperd's House is to expand the east end of the building all the way out to the parking lot, it would give the facility and 1100 more square feet. More importantly, it would provide room for 10 more veterans.

The Shepard's house receives all funding from donations. They received an estimate for 100-thousand for the expansion, but a group of Christian builders has agreed to build it for about a 1/4th of that. Barb Cox says what the expansion could mean for her growing ministry.

Barb Cox says it's "not just transforming a building, we're transforming lives". Ted Wright says "thousands are literally dying for a place like this."

If you'd like to help the Sheperd's House with their Christmas wish you can call contact them at (260) 705-7642.

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