|American Legion 2016-2017 State Commander Roger Gengaro (right) presents a $98,000 donation to Julia Bey Ahmet, Community Hope Chief Development Officer, together with State Project Commander Jack Dunne. Together, Gengaro and Dunne led the successful fundraising campaign to provide mental health services to homeless veterans in Community Hope's 95-bed Hope for Veterans Transitional Housing Program.
Wildwood, NJ -- The American Legion presented a $98,000 donation to Community Hope, based in Parsippany, at their Annual Convention on Friday, June 9th. The gift was the culmination of a year-long fundraising campaign to provide mental health services to homeless and combat veterans residing at the Hope for Veterans® Transitional Housing Program on the Veterans Affairs campus in Lyons, Somerset County, NJ. Community Hope's program provides housing, basic essentials, employment services and support to 95 homeless veterans a day and rescues as many as 150 veterans from homelessness annually. Hope for Veterans serves homeless and disabled veterans from throughout New Jersey.
American Legion State Commander Roger Gengaro said, "Providing our veterans with mental health counseling will save lives, particularly for those who served in active combat who need to work through what they have experienced in war. Otherwise, the invisible wounds never heal."
As Gengaro steps down as State Commander, he said he was honored to make an impact on overcoming homelessness during his one-year term. "I knew that I wanted veterans' homelessness to be my priority as State Commander. These men and women have answered our country’s call and honorably served to defend us. We must do all we can to help restore them to their former selves when they return home."
He said he selected Community Hope for the depth of services they are providing our veterans. The nonprofit operates several programs within its Hope for Veterans® umbrella that includes the 95-bed transitional housing program, another 8-bed transitional housing program in Bergen County, a 62-unit veterans supportive housing village on the Lyons VA campus in Somerset County and the largest Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program in New Jersey, which provides homeless prevention and rapid rehousing to veteran households in 15 of the State's 21 counties.