Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Caring for the Homeless

Guest Blog by Theresa Blumberg, President, Women Veterans of Colorado

Thanks to a generous grant from Xcel Energy*, on May 27, 2016, Women Veterans of Colorado (WVOC) volunteers outfitted a room in a homeless shelter. The room is reserved for Women Veterans and is owned and managed by Volunteers of America in Denver, Colorado.

The partnership between Volunteers of America and WVOC dates back to 2011 when WVOC hosted its first conference. We invited exhibitors and supporters to participate. Volunteers of America stepped forward to do both. In my desire to learn more about Volunteers of America's support for Women Veterans in distressed circumstances, I toured their facilities at the Brandon Center and on Clermont Street. WVOC immediately saw the need to support Women Veterans enrolled in Volunteers of America programs.

We pursued funding to outfit rooms at the Volunteers of America Family Motel. We also provided dry goods to the Clermont homes to relieve the residents from the need to purchase mundane household items such as cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, linens, and towels.

As Women Veterans participate in Volunteers of America programs to gain self-sufficiency, residing in a nicely decorated, well-furnished and comfortable place, helps to ease anxiety and stress as they get back on their feet.

Prior to this makeover, this room looked like a normal motel room and not a home. The colors and furnishings were dated, and the closet and bathroom were just as worn.

Our team of WVOC Volunteers (WVOCeers) shopped and outfitted the space in pleasing colors with bedspreads, curtains, throw rugs, a shower curtain, and other homey touches.

Other necessities included mattress pads, pillows, bed linens, throw pillows, clocks, inspirational wall décor, a floor lamp with shelves for each bed, a shelving unit for the bathroom, towel racks and a set of hooks over the bathroom door to hang clothes.

The Volunteers of America staff and WVOCeers dressed the room together and in the end, rearranged the furniture to feel like home, hung pictures and a big clock featuring both the time and day of the week, all just in time for a new Women Veteran to check in that afternoon.

A personal, handwritten note greets the Woman Veteran thanking her for her service to our nation and wishing her well in her endeavors. Another note includes a $25.00 gift card generously provided by the Front End Manager at the local Walmart where we shopped—to spend as the Woman Veteran chooses.

*Xcel Energy is a major U.S. Electricity and natural gas company operating in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, responsible energy delivered with the highest standards for safety, reliability and responsiveness. Xcel Energy supports communities in four important focus areas: STEM education, workforce development, environmental stewardship, and access to arts and culture. In 2014, Xcel Energy invested over $13 million in support of communities across its service territory.

Women Veterans of Colorado is a 501(c)(3) Colorado non-profit corporation. Visit www.womenveteransofcolorado.org to learn more about WVOC and how to donate your time or treasure in support of its mission. Donations are tax exempt.

The author, Theresa Z. Blumberg, Colonel, United States Air Force Reserves, retired, is President and Co-Founder of Women Veterans of Colorado.