Roy Foster knows what it’s like to serve his country, struggle to readjust to civilian life and drift from place to place with nowhere to call home. Those experiences led the U.S. Army veteran to envision a place where homeless veterans could get help and have their hope restored.
On Veterans Day, Foster’s dream became a reality as the nonprofit he founded, Faith*Hope*Love*Charity Inc., broke ground on a housing complex for veterans and their families.
“Village of Valor” will be the first Palm Beach County community designed specifically for veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
The $26 million complex will be built on nearly 13 acres of land along Second Avenue North in Lake Worth. “This is not about the buildings, it’s about the service and how we are going to re-establish the bond and pride that we carried in the armed services,” Foster said.
The village will be designed like a small town, including a coffee shop, dining facility, library, clubhouse, playgrounds, resort-style pool, walking trails, fitness center, community garden and a fenced dog park. The 140 units will include apartments and town homes.
Like its sister program, the Stand Down House, which serves male veterans, “Village of Valor” will provide an integrated approach to ending veteran homelessness. Residents will receive vocational and financial training, as well as health, nutrition and fitness support.
Navy veteran Steven Sullivan went to Stand Down House in 2011 after he lost his job and was evicted from his apartment. Sullivan said having other veterans in the program helped him succeed. “We were all going through the same thing and had been through the same things in our time of service,” he said.
Construction on “Village of Valor” is expected to be completed in May 2016, with full occupancy by Veterans Day 2016. The night before the first shovel hit the dirt, Roy Foster camped out on the empty lot. He said he wanted to be the first veteran to sleep on the property that will “put an end to homelessness in Palm Beach County for our veterans.”
ABOVE: Dignitaries take part in the Village of Valor groundbreaking. PHOTO BY MILTON WILLIAMS