Since it opened in 2010, the veterans shelter in Inverness, previously part of the Mission in Citrus, has always been about veterans helping other veterans.
Beginning June 1, The Bridge 4 Veterans, a new Citrus County-based nonprofit organization with veterans on its board, has stepped in to run the shelter and to be a bridge between the shelter residents and resources in the community.
Mission in Citrus founder, James Sleighter, has stepped down from running the veterans shelter.
On Friday, June 4, a group of community partners and Bridge board members met for a ribbon cutting at the shelter on South Park Avenue in Inverness.
“Our goal is to get the veterans to accomplish their goals, whatever they may be,” said Bridge president Greg Pelletier.
To do this, they are partnering with agencies such as the United Way of Citrus County, especially their Mission United veterans program, the Veterans Coalition, Veterans Affairs and St. Vincent de Paul CARES, among others.
Pelletier said immediate plans are to do some repairs and sprucing up the shelter itself as well as assessing the needs and goals of the residents — currently there are about 10 — whether it’s finding jobs for those who are able to work or their own places to live for those who are able to live on their own.
They will also be providing case management for the residents through their local partnering agencies.
Pelletier said The Bridge 4 Veterans formed in April and they're still in the process of getting everything they need to start fundraising, pursuing grants or receiving donations.
Until then, the Veterans Coalition is able to accept donations to pay for the shelter’s operating expenses, said Bridge board member Richard Floyd, who is also with the Veterans Coalition.
For more information about The Bridge 4 Veterans, email Greg Pelletier at firstname.lastname@example.org.