Veterans & Families FIRST Open House and Awards Presentation
Dennis Kresak (President & CEO of Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio), Diane Sellers (Marion Square), Jascha L. Vissman (Franklin County Veteran Service Commission), Arica Morgan (Program Director of Columbus Veterans Programs at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio), Robert Bramlish (Executive Director of Franklin County Veteran Service Commission) and Nick Kontras.
Community Partners and Landlords Recognized for Helping Local Veterans
Our Veterans & Families FIRST program hosted an Open House on Wednesday, June 14, for community partners to check out its new location at 3443 Agler Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219.
Along with a tour of the new space, a special Homes4Heroes Awards Presentation recognized special landlords and community partners who have gone above and beyond to help end veteran homelessness in Columbus.
"We couldn't let this day go by without recognizing these people," said Arica Morgan, Program Director of Columbus Veterans Programs, adding that these community partners and landlords have been a great asset to helping us end veteran homelessness.
Congratulations to Our Award Recipients:
Community Partner: Franklin County Veteran Service Commission
Private Landlord: Nick Kontras
Corporate Landlord: Marion Square
In his acceptance speech, Nick Kontras, a local landlord, said he was glad to have the opportunity to work with Veterans & Families FIRST.
"I'm a Navy veteran myself and it's been great having the opportunity to help those who have served our country," Kontras said.
Diane Sellers, who accepted the award for Marion Square, said that they have lowered the age limit of their community, from 55 to 50 years old, to help more veterans find housing. She said about 35% of residents are veterans, thanks to their work with Veterans & Families FIRST.
"People cry when they sign the lease," she said in her acceptance speech.
Robert Bramlish, Executive Director of Franklin County Veteran Service Commission, said he looks forward to continuing to work with Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio.
"These sustained solutions will allow veterans to live the American dream again," he said.
Dennis Kresak, President and CEO of Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio said Veterans & Families FIRST is one of the best programs the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has come out with.
"It's all about prevention. Prevention from veterans entering into homelessness, despair or other issues they have," he said. "The opportunity to give back to those veterans who provided us with freedom and to live the life that we do."
Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio's Veterans & Families FIRST program aims to prevent homelessness and ensure housing stability among veterans and their families. Learn more about the program here.