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Community Bank donated $30,000 to the City Mission as part of their anniversary giving.

More than a decade ago, City Mission President and CEO, Dean Gartland, had a dream to build a shelter specifically for homeless veterans. He already knew that 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the US. He also knew that veterans are 50% more likely to become homeless, and that on any given night, there are 76,000 homeless veterans sleeping on the streets of America, so he set out on a mission to help this struggling, homeless population.

“We started tracking the number of veterans coming to City Mission for help,” Gartland explained. “We saw a steady increase in the number of veterans seeking shelter every year. Our board of directors wanted to address this growing problem and the decision was made that if we could, we would build a place where veterans could heal emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.”

On July 3, 2018, Dean’s dream became a reality when City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans’ House, a 22-bed shelter for homeless veterans, finally opened its doors.

“This is a dream-come-true day for City Mission,” Gartland said of the opening. “The Veterans’ House is a critical component to the healing process for our veteran population. Having our veterans living together and supporting one another is the best way for them to obtain lasting results.”

City Mission hired Steve Adams, a United States Army veteran and former City Mission resident, to be the manager of veterans’ services and create a program to meet the specific needs of homeless veterans. Drawing on his experience as a wartime veteran and his own struggles transitioning back to civilian life, Adams works with each individual veteran to create a unique program to fulfill their specific needs.

Through the individualized program, each veteran addresses the barriers and challenges that led them to homelessness, whether they are related to drug and alcohol, medical complications, mental health instability, or any other issue. Adams helps them gain access to the Department of Veterans Affairs and other community resources. He also connects them with the Mission’s Career Training and Education Center as well as veteran-specific programs to find school and/or employment to give them purpose and restore a sense of pride. As the veterans achieve stability, Adams connects them with veteran organizations to help them find housing and provide an extra layer of support as they move toward independent living.

“The Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans’ House is a testament to what can happen when a group of guys trust and believe in each other and work together to accomplish one another’s goals,” Adams explained.

Tom, a Desert Storm era US Army veteran, came to the Mission in 2019 suffering with severe medical and mental health issues. The veterans program helped him connect with other veterans, receive therapy and get on the waiting list for two hip replacement surgeries. Through the Mission’s Career Training and Education Center, Tom found a path that brought him purpose and fulfillment. After more than a year at the mission, he successfully moved out and is now living on his own.

“No two ways about it,” Tom said, “A year ago, before I came to the mission, I didn’t feel like I had any kind of a future. But now there’s light on the road ahead.”

In an effort to support this important program, Community Bank, a locally-managed, independent bank, has donated more $8,500 to the City Mission through their Community Bank Cares program. Community Bank was founded in 1901 on the time honored tradition of “Neighbor Helping Neighbor.” Today that tradition continues more than ever. The program, which allows the bank to bridge important funding to meaningful organizations, started in 2015 and has benefited charities and nonprofits throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

If you are veteran looking for more information on the City Mission’s Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans’ House, please call 724-222-8530 ext. 294. To learn more about the City Mission and their Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans’ House, visit citymission.org.

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