New Castle News

TOP STORIES

May 28, 2013

‘Invisible’ veterans to be seen on PBS this fall

NEW CASTLE — They’re called invisible but there are more than 280 of them in the immediate area.

 “They” are the homeless people who live under bridges and in woodland campsites of the nation. Many are veterans. Some of the veterans have mental health issues.

“People don’t want to think about them except that they don’t want them in their neighborhood,” said Sandi Hause, executive director of Patches Place. The agency deals with people who have mental health issues. Many of them are homeless; many of the homeless clients are veterans.

Hause and her “family of clients” at the facility at 217 N. Mill St. were visited last week by Lou Cordera and Don Wright of CortronMedia. The Pittsburgh-based production company is filming a documentary on veterans. Their product, to be shown on PBS, is expected to air this fall.

The hour-long program, “Was it worth it for me?” examines issues faced by veterans and asks if services provided through the Veteran’s Administration are having any impact and if veterans are getting any benefit from them.

The segment filmed in New Castle deals with homelessness and features Ron Christopher, a former homeless veteran who is now a peer specialist on homelessness support with the Veteran’s Administration.

“I was homeless for 20 years,” Christopher said.

Other issues to be included in the documentary include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, employment, challenges that disabled rural veterans face to obtain medical treatment and counseling and a program by the justice system which offers a second chance to veterans charged with non-violent crimes. Other veterans will be featured on those segments.

“We’re still shooting and lining up vets,” Wright said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get people to talk.”

In addition to airing on PBS, he said, segments of the production can be used as “stand alone” videos by VA speakers, and viewed online.

In the past four years, Cordera and Wright said they have produced about a dozen 30-second public service spots to draw attention to veterans’ problems.

“You hear about people living in doorways and under bridges,” said Dan Slack, homeless programs coordinator with the VA Department of Veteran Affairs. “Here they also live in the woods. Everybody knows they are there but it is as if they are invisible. People don’t know anything about them.”

Based at the Butler VA, Slack said he has worked with homeless veterans for about 12 years, developing programs and working with communities through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development/Veterans Affairs Supported Housing, a rent-subsidized program similar to Section 8 housing. The program, Slack said, gets veterans off the streets and into emergency, temporary and permanent housing.

He said he focuses on the “chronically homeless” who have been without shelter for one year or who have at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

“We’re seeing a difference with this and other issues,” he said, adding, “But it hasn’t been easy.”

The portion of the documentary filmed here follows Christopher to Patches Place to ask about finding housing for veterans and to the Robin’s Nest campsite where veterans and others live in tents in the woods.

“I ask veterans who I meet if they received services and if the services made a difference in their lives,” he said.

Christopher said he learned of VA programs through his older brother, also a veteran.

“He told me the VA was helping him to get through some of his issues and suggested that I see what they could do for me.”

VA counselors, he said, helped him through his alcoholism and to get a job, and got him off the streets and into transitional housing. He has been sober for six years

“When I lost my job and was about to become homeless again, I went back to the VA. Dan (Slack) helped me to find housing. Now I work with the VA, helping veterans.”

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.

     
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

House Ads
Poll

The Steelers opened training camp this weekend. How do you see them faring this season?

Super Bowl
Division champs
Wild card team
Missing playoffs for a third straight year
     View Results