Wounded Warrior Homes Group Helps Start Veterans Off on the Right Foot

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Published By: U-T San Diego

Date: July 31st, 2014

Original Post: Link Here


Mia and Steve Roseberry have had Marines sleeping all over the floor of their Vista home, so they know what it’s like for some of them to have no place to bunk.

They are trying to do something about that, one serviceperson at a time.

Mia and Steve are the founders of Wounded Warrior Homes, celebrating its two-year anniversary in September. Despite the similarity in name, it is not connected to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West center on Camp Pendleton.

“We are our own stand-alone nonprofit,” Steve Roseberry said.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t cooperation between the two, however — and between the Roseberrys and the Veterans Administration and just about every other agency dealing with Wounded Warriors.

Those helped by the Roseberrys are less apt to have suffered visible wounds.

Instead of losing an arm or leg in a mortar attack, for instance, they are the ones suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.

They have trouble getting a job, relating to other people and regaining self-confidence.

And, of course, they have no money, so that’s where Wounded Warrior Homes comes in, spending $400-$600 to get the veteran started with groceries, a cellphone and other needs until he gets on his feet and perhaps starts contributing to his own keep.

“Our 14th guy just moved in,” Roseberry said, at an interview in the home that also serves as the Wounded Warrior Homes office.

But, he said, there have been 155 requests in less than two years.

“Too many guys were falling through the cracks,” Roseberry said, and even though the organization can’t find housing locally for each of the applicants, it tries to do something to help — even if that involves an out-of-state referral.

“We can just not say ‘no,’ ” he said.

Sometimes, he said, veterans have to wait as much as a year or more for benefits and, in the meantime, have no money for housing.

Right now, Wounded Warrior Homes can serve only three veterans at a time in the three-bedroom house it owns. Mia Roseberry said, but “once you put a roof over their head, they just blossom,” she said.

She cited one veteran who did not trust anyone at first and now competes in the Paralympics.

“We become their family,” Steve Roseberry said.

The organization is in the midst of adding two more bedrooms to the house, which it calls Harvest Home, and the Roseberrys say they could build even more homes — or acquire a small apartment complex — if they can raise more money.

A “Legends of Surf” fundraising concert is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista. It’s possible to pay $1 for a “Help Build A Home” balloon while shopping. Pacific Marine Credit Union has been a sponsor.

The Wounded Warrior Homes program provides transitional, not permanent, housing.

“The happiest day,” Steve Roseberry said, “is when they move in, and the second happiest is when they move out” because it signifies the veteran has a job and the means to pay for his own housing.

So far, only servicemen, not women, have requested help from Wounded Warrior Homes.

Mia Roseberry said repeated deployments — sometimes as many as 14 — seem to cause much stress. “Our guys have served eight, 12, 18 years and are in their 30s or 40s. They’re not newbies.”

There are four generations of Marines in Mia Roseberry’s family, although she never served herself. Her daughter dated a Marine at Twentynine Palms. A nephew also serves.

Because of their contacts, Mia Roseberry said, “we have had any number of guys cover the floor” on overnight stays, so, while those might not have needed long-term help, the Roseberrys realized other post-9/11 warriors did.

They serve only singles, Steve Roseberry said, because other agencies care for families, and they don’t deal with drug or alcohol rehabilitation for the same reason.

Lola Sherman is a freelance writer. Contact her at lola@seaside-media-services.com