Wounded Warrior Homes purchases Oceanside residence

REGION — Wounded Warrior Homes nonprofit is on a mission to provide young veterans transitional housing while they conquer personal hurdles in transitioning to civilian life.

The nonprofit recently purchased its third home to house veterans, this one is in Oceanside.

The four-bedroom, 1,890-square-foot house will shelter four veterans at a time.

“We see it as an investment in veterans and our community,” Gene Jennett, Wounded Warrior Homes assistant director, said.

Jennett said the organization’s goal is to immediately support young veterans in their transition to a self-sufficient civilian life.

Homeless or soon to be homeless veterans are selected from a referral wait list to move into transitional housing.

Veterans have a case manager and receive support referrals to help them overcome personal barriers to being self-sufficient. They must also attend college or work at a job. Additional volunteer work is highly encouraged.

Wounded Warrior Homes has houses in Vista and in Escondido, which shelter three to five veterans each. The homes provide secure transitional housing in the costly San Diego County market as veterans get back on the right track.

Jennett said each veteran helped has unique needs.

One veteran suffered from severe PTSD. Connecting him with a service dog changed the veteran’s life. He now is a nationally ranked Paralympian, married, a father and homeowner.

Another veteran simply needed financial counseling and a few months of stable housing to save up and move out on his own.

“His benefits were secured and he was ready to go,” Jennett said. “He (later) finished his BA degree and opened a business and his own nonprofit.”

Wounded Warrior Homes began serving veterans in 2012. The organization has seen 55 veterans through its support program. Most veterans seeking help are in their 20s and 30s.

“Many enter service right out of high school and have not developed life skills,” Jennett said. “We help them be self-sustaining,  functional and not get into any more trouble.”

The Oceanside home is expected to open in spring.

Some renovations need to be completed before veterans can move in. Major improvements will be done by licensed building professionals.

Yardwork and handiwork will be completed by volunteers.

Jennett said the organization is applying for a grant to cover some of the renovation costs.

The goal is to move in the first four veterans in April.

Jennett said support for Wounded Warrior Homes helps local veterans and the community. He said   immediate help for transitioning veterans can put them back on their feet for a lifetime.

“You don’t want veterans ending up on the street, and living in that lifestyle,” Jennett said. “We want to transition them successfully in the first place.”

Jennett said it is still up to veterans to ask for help, and sometimes it takes hitting bottom for that to happen.

“They think they got this, until they realize don’t got this,” Jennett said.

Wounded Warrior Homes also provides referral services via phone and email to veterans nationwide.

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