VOA to add residences in North Camden for homeless and low-income vets

Volunteers of America Delaware Valley received a $60,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation last week to renovate a North Camden community center for low-income and homeless veterans.

The VOA intends to create seven to nine single-occupancy units at the Leavenhouse Community, a center that has been a beacon on State Street for more than three decades. Leavenhouse used to house homeless and low-income residents under prior ownership. Once VOA acquired the property from the North Camden Land Trust about five years ago, it stopped housing residents because of building infrastructure issues (needed major renovations). Since then, the VOA has used Leavenhouse for office space and for its kitchen, from which it serves breakfast to clients on the weekends, said VOA spokeswoman Rebecca Fuller.   

The local grant comes from $1.37 million awarded by the Home Depot Foundation to more than a dozen VOA homeless-veterans programs nationwide. In each case, the money will be used to refurbish or build housing for the vets and family members. For years, the Leavenhouse Community has helped its clients find affordable housing, provided case management, taught life skills, and provided mental-health and substance-abuse counseling. 

The renovations should be complete within a year, Fuller said.

Volunteers of America serves more than 7,700 homeless veterans each year through 35 programs in 15 states.