NEW YORK - For Terry Rivers, returning to civilian life after serving in the National Guard and being deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 wasn't easy.
"It’s been very rewarding for me to provide that, seeing as though that I had my own downfalls, being homeless, looking for employment and ultimately living on my friend's couch," said Rivers.
Now, Rivers is the Veteran Peer Mentor at Walton House in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx. Walton House is part of the nonprofit Jericho Project, an organization focused on ending homelessness. This location opened in 2018 to meet the needs of struggling veterans, young adults, and members of the LGBTQ community.
"I tend to meet the individuals where they are whether it be a simple conversation, help with resources, or even just sending affirmations," said Rivers.
For US Army veteran Carl Samuels, the camaraderie here makes him feel at home.
"I get to interact with other branches of services members and they can tell me what type of stuff they’ve been through in their career. You know, we share war stories as they say," said Samuels.
Each resident at the Walton House has their own lease and key to a studio apartment for which they only pay a third of their income. The facility also provides free employment, health, and wellness services to all its tenants.
The CEO of Jericho Project believes these resources are more important now than ever before, as troops come back from Afghanistan.
"Most of them come to us in their 50s or older and in many times it’s their first apartment they’ve had ever or in a really long time and having a community of veterans really helps them be back with their fellow service members," said Jericho Project CEO Tori Lyon.
There are 89 apartments total at Walton House, but a handful of them are empty, which means they’re still taking applicants— veterans and young adults. For more information, contact Jericho Project. https://jerichoproject.org/