Jonas, Monroe County – A Monroe County Charity group got nearly $192,000 to convert the former Hotel Jonas into a homeless veterans center. The money came from Pennsylvania casinos’ Local Share Agreement.
Up to 13 veterans who have been living on the streets will be able to stay in the home started by the Valor Clinic. Organization Co-founder Mark Baylis said, "It's a recovery program to help them get on their feet versus just a place to get out of the weather."
The organization helps veterans overcome tough circumstances. They’ve been dreaming about this project for a long time. Small Group Activities Director Glen Lippincott smiled, "I was kind of doing an end zone dance kind of thing when I got the word."
In addition to giving veterans a place to stay, people at the house will teach them how to transition back into their own homes, and find work. "They're gonna get some life skills classes that they're going to attend classes once a week for life skills,” said Bayliss. "They have to help around the cooking, the cleaning, and the yard work."
Veterans have to follow house rules; including not having drugs or alcohol. They will also get specialized counseling to help them deal with their personal issues. Lippincott said, "You start to peel back the layers like the onion, you start to see whoa, there's a lot more here than it has on the surface."
The sale closing on the hotel is next week. The center will be called the Major Paul Syverson Veterans Sanctuary in honor of a young Pennsylvania man who was killed in Iraq.