Veterans Haven

Stoy and photos by G.. Natasha Zoe, Veterans Information Officer

Boot filled with vegitationThe American Legion Auxiliary State President’s state project for the past year (2001-2002) was to raise and donate $17,000 to Veterans Haven for the purchase of new beds and mattresses for each of the 53 resident’s rooms.

Robert Durante, superintendent of Veterans Haven, was invited to their annual convention in Wildwood to accept the donation. To the great surprise of Durante and other guests attending the convention, the actual donation made by the American Legion Auxiliary was $36,000.

This donation allows Veterans Haven to purchase better quality beds and mattresses than originally planned and an icemaker for the Haven’s kitchen.

The American Legion Auxiliary donation is being combined with funds from the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to purchase new beds, mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, and bed spreads for each of the 53 resident’s bedrooms.

Garden in bloomThis upgrade for all the bedrooms (total cost $48,000) is the first stage of a complete bedroom enhancement. The final improvement will also include dressers, chests, nightstands, and lamps. The resident’s rooms at Veterans Haven are currently furnished with mixture of donated used household furniture.

Delivery of the new beds, mattresses and linens is expected by the end of October.


Congressman Chris Smith

Congressman Chris Smith visited Veterans Haven Sept. 9. He received an extensive overview of the history and current state of the program. The briefing included both Veterans Haven’s resources, current funding and funding requirements and what congressional level help the program and the homeless veteran population could use.

Congressman Smith discussed the possibilities of expansion of the program into other areas. He also toured the facility and met some of the residents. Congressman Smith represents New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District and is currently serving his 11th consecutive term in the House of Representatives. Smith serves as the Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He was the prime sponsor for the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act of 2001, which nationally made more money available for homeless veterans programs and initiatives.