Liberation Family Services is a program helping homeless Veterans on Richmond's South Side.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - On any given night there are 581 homeless Veterans in Richmond. They need help getting on track, and now there's a place on the Southside serving those who served.
Jay Patrick is the CEO of Liberation Family Services. "Some of our clients have been homeless for years," he explains giving ABC 8News a tour of the facility.
Patrick had been the Chief of Operations at Freedom House Shelter when it announced it was shutting down last May, and he knew he had to do something to give Veterans the help they need. Liberation Family Services was born from his light bulb idea. "When I was a boy, just a young boy, they were fighting in Vietnam for me when I couldn't fight for myself. So when the doors were about to close, I decided to start fighting for them."
In the year it's been open, LFS has found permanent housing for eighteen men. It's served a total of fifty-six, like Calvin Goff who had been living on the streets. "Not finding a place to stay, not having food to eat, not having clean clothes and a place to wash. It's terrible," Goff says, describing the daily struggle he faced before LFS.
The program lasts anywhere from one to nine months. During that time, there's a focus on job placement, financial literacy and finding a home. LFS provides transportation to doctor's appointments. It also helps clients overcome substance abuse issues.
"I learned to trust. I learned to manage my life, and I'm still working on that every day," says Paul Bottoms. He is one of the earliest success stories at LFS and credits the staff for helping him to get his life on track.
LFS has a closet with everything the men need to make their stay comfortable. There are racks of suits for job interviews. There are shelves and shelves of linens, pots and other housewares for the day when the clients are ready to move into their own homes.
It's coming. I do have faith in God, and I know with faith in Him, everything is possible," says Goff who just earned his contractor's license.
LFS provides support to homeless Veterans who want to succeed. They just need to take that first step in the right direction, and the staff is ready to make it happen.
"The smiles on their faces, I can't just can't tell you how great that it," says Fletcher Johnson, LFS Case Manager. "This just gives me a great honor, a great joy to work with these gentleman." LFS has more space to help more people, but the organization needs volunteers and resources to expand. You can learn more about how to help here.