Macon group offers a 'home port' for veterans getting back on their feet

    Home Port offers homeless veterans a place to get back on their feet/Claudia Coco (WGXA)

    MACON, Ga. -- It can be a struggle for some veterans to go from structured active duty to an unstructured civilian life, but one group in Macon is trying to help those who served back on their feet.

    "A Veterans Home" is still a work in progress, but the people who live there said it gives them structure and community to be around the brave men who served from Vietnam to Iraq.

    The lobby of Home Port Veterans Transition Home, which sits off of Harrison Rd., is littered with cards from children and artwork recognizing those who fought for their country.

    "When I had my house in California and got divorced, I didn't have anywhere else to go," Navy corpsman Rashad Collins said.

    After eight years as a Navy corpsman, Collins found himself struggling with substance abuse. "I felt like I was losing myself, I didn't really want to converse with nobody. You know, it's really hard to talk about it," he said.

    George Brown the president of the Veterans Transition Project, said their goal is to help keep veterans off the street. "Our criteria is simply that you have to have a DD 214, and you have to have a good discharge," Brown said.

    Brown said the group still have a long way to go, but currently they try to provide the residents some with clothes, a pantry and some toiletries.

    "There's a rent supplement of $500 a month and with that we try to provide at least two meals a day," he said.

    The home wants to offer counseling and a recreation center as the project moves forward inch by inch, Brown said.

    "Trying to fit the need with the ability to transition from where they are to where they need to be back in society," said Brown.

    US Army Sgt. Michael Childs said he doesn't see this as a long-term home, but it's helping him get back on his feet.

    "My wife and I were having some problems and separated, and all the financial responsibility landed on me, and it got kind of difficult, and it got kind of hard," Childs said. "Anything that can save a veteran that's going through a hard time, some of that money to go back into bills they weren't able to catch up on."

    Find ways to help Home Port by visiting their Facebook page to check for upcoming volunteering dates, visit their website or call 478-477-0170.

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