Civilians may not be fully aware of the struggles that veterans face after their tour of duty. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the national unemployment rate for veterans is over seven percent. Many struggle with alcohol and drug addiction and others need help reconnecting with their families.
Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton opened St. Hedwig’s Veterans Village in Luzerne County to help meet the needs of these members of their community.
St. Hedwig’s Village is made up of 10 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom apartments designed for veterans and their families. A full range of supportive services is provided, including counseling, job search assistance, educational opportunities and more.
Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton also provides residence for 30 more veterans at St. Francis Commons in Scranton. In conjunction with the Veterans Administration, Catholic Social Services provides drug and alcohol treatment, job training, case management and counseling.
St. Francis Commons consists of 30 rooms with private baths, community dining rooms and kitchens, laundry rooms and TV lounges. The men and women may live at St. Francis Commons for two years, during which time they can heal, work and reconnect with their families.
Monsingor Joseph Kelly, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services, said, “In the year since its opening, St. Francis Commons has seen a significant change in the veterans we are privileged to serve. All are actively pursuing employment and volunteer at our food pantry and free clothing store. I have never met a group of people who are more appreciative than our veterans.”
In addition to offering housing and other services to veterans, Catholic agencies help the poor, hungry, imprisoned, immigrants, refugees, and many more.