Catholic Action Center creates veterans shelter

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:56:38-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — An existing homeless shelter is now serving our community's veterans.

Run by the Catholic Action Center, the Mother Theresa Shelter is near the CAC's existing general population shelter off New Circle Road.

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It opened to veterans three weeks ago.

"They're our brothers who have served our country and kept us safe," Director Ginny Ramsey said. "We feel a very strong obligation to give them safe harbor and a place that accepts them as they are and helps them walk that path out of homelessness."

Currently, nine veterans live there. Ramsey hopes it can house 16 once COVID allows.

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Marine Corps veteran Ross Helton Jr. is a current resident.

"I wake up thankful every day," Helton said.

In and out of prison for 30 years, he said he's finally found a place to get the help he needs.

"They keep you well-fed," he said. "We have nice showers and things, and you really don't have to want for anything."

Before, those in the CAC's veterans program were housed in individual apartments, but Ramsey said housing them in one space will now foster a greater sense of community.

"Isolation and loneliness is a large piece of homelessness, and as much as it sounds good to have an apartment for 90 days or 120 days to get on your feet, you're still not experiencing the give and take and the support always," she said.

The overall goal is for the veterans to quickly transition into permanent housing.

Helton hopes to move into his apartment by the weekend and said it will be the first place he's lived on his own in decades.

"I'm excited, of course," he said. "Things take time. Have patience. God will put it in place when it's time."

Ramsey said the shelter will be dedicated and blessed in November.