New Beginnings of Tampa strives to be a light in the community. With their ability to feed and house the homeless, they also provide a program for a community that is often overlooked: veterans.
“We have about a total of 200 in the program now, and about 50 of them are vets. Most of the vets come as a referral from Veterans Affairs, or sometimes they just come right off the street,” says founder, Tom Atchison, “The most important thing is, is they have a clean environment, a safe environment to stay, a good three meals a day and snacks, it’s very important for their well being.”
New Beginnings is willing to whatever it takes to keep veterans off the street.
“I came down and they had a bed for me and that was a week ago today,” said veteran Kenney Farley.
New Beginnings doesn’t just provide housing for their veterans, they prepare them to get back into the real world.
“Right now we’re running very close to 100 percent as far as getting jobs. There’s plenty of jobs out there for those that will be responsible, show up on time to work and so sometimes that takes a little life training skills on how to hold a job,” Atchison said.
New Beginnings wants their veterans to feel at home, but also assigns them duties to make sure their quarters are clean and tidy to help create good habits and responsibility.
“I seem to get along with everybody, they’re pretty friendly, you know. I’m happy,” said Farley.
So it seems to be a happy ending for everybody at New Beginnings.
Even veteran, Leif Dereng is ecstatic about earning his new housing voucher. He explained how happy he was and laughed saying, “no more woods.”
Many of the veterans stay at New Beginnings between four to six months, where they work to get back on their feet and out into the workforce again.