JANESVILLE, Wis. - In Rock County, a program helping to keep veterans off the streets is making a difference.
The Veterans Transitional Housing Program, located at Rock Valley Community Programs in Janesville, started about 18 months ago.
The program can accommodate 48 veterans at its facility, and Executive Director Fred Parlin said he expects it to be full in the coming months.
Vietnam veteran Philip Marshall is proud of his new apartment on Madison's east side.
"It's an excellent feeling, but it's not a feeling I'm accustomed to," said Marshall, who is a recovering addict.
The Veterans Transitional Housing Program gave Marshall the tools to kick his habit and move into his own apartment in just three months.
"I need a safe environment to a certain degree where I wouldn't be tempted to have a drink because I was stressed," said Marshall.
Marshall completed an alcohol addiction program at the VA in Madison and continues to go to meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Veterans Transitional Housing Program is funded by the federal VA program. Fred Parlin said veterans can stay at the Janesville facility as long as 24 months.
"A lot of these guys, I respect their courage just to make the changes needed in order to get themselves back on track," said Parlin.
This week the program helped its 100th client.
"It can be that they are literally on the street, living in their car or staying at a homeless shelter, or if they are about to lose their housing they can also apply," said Parlin.
Marshall said the last seven months of sobriety have been great. He is reconnecting with his family and is encouraging others to seek help.
"This is your stepping stone; this is the first place you have to go. But the next step is you have to get involved and be willing to do what you have to do."
To be eligible for the program, veterans need to have been honorably discharged. Locally, the program serves veterans throughout Wisconsin and part of Illinois.
For more information about the program, contact Fred Parlin at 608-757-6557 or visit http://www.housing4ourvets.org.
In addition to counseling services, the program also provides toiletries and clothing to men in the program. For more on how you can help, contact Bobbie Stail at Rock Valley Community Programs at 608-741-4500 ext. 6514 or visit http://www.rvcp.org.
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