Thanks to local organizations, Lynchburg veterans leaving prison have new hope

These organizations realized formerly incarcerated vets are underserved

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Military vets coming out of prison may find new opportunities in the Lynchburg area, thanks to local organizations in the Hill City that are making the return to society easier.

A house sitting on Craddock Street in Lynchburg that was built in the early 1900s will soon be a new place for veterans getting out of prison to stay.

"Well when they find themselves in jail or prison, there is not treatment for PTSD in jail. Now, they're adding another layer to the problem they already have," said Terrick Moyer, director of development and outreach for Lighthouse Community Center.  

Organizations like the Lighthouse Community Center and the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council realized that formerly incarcerated veterans are an underserved population. 

"A large percentage of veterans that are in our jails and prisons are not receiving the kind of help that they need," said Moyer. 

Sponsors have come through with grants to help organizers start rehabilitating the home. 

The house will have a new kitchen, bathrooms, HVAC system and separate bedrooms. But once veterans are in, it won't be an easy handout. 

The organization will be charging the veterans $10 per day for program fees. If they are not working or have an income, they will be expected to volunteer 20 hours per week at the Lighthouse, according to Moyer.

The Veterans Council says 24 veterans will be coming out of prison this year.

Come November, only four to six of them can live at the house, an issue the organizations have to stay ahead of for the other veterans who have to wait.  

"We can't even accommodate the ones who we know are coming out very soon," said Moyer. "This is not going to be adequate enough. We're going to have to start looking immediately for another house to start working on."