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Pulaski County couple opens assisted community living program for veterans

The Olive Branch houses veterans who are homeless or suffering from substance abuse until they get back on their feet.

HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. — One Pulaski County couple plans to give some Central Georgia veterans a place of their own. They transformed a home in Hawkinsville into a boarding home where veterans can live in while they transition back into society.

What looks like a normal home on Carruthers Street is really what Janet and James McGhee call a resource. 

They started up a program called the Olive Branch. It's a home where veterans who are homeless and suffering from substance abuse can stay until they get back on their feet.

"You'll have your own room. You'll just share your common area with people," Janet said.

Three veterans can live here at a time, and the McGhees say their goal is to have them live here for only a year. 

"Because what we're doing is trying to transition them into their own homes," she said.

Janet says she noticed the need for veteran housing back in 2017 when she was studying social work at Albany State University. In the program, she often worked on cases dealing with veterans who were not getting the help they needed.

"I saw more homeless veterans than I did individuals on the street. I was wondering why? Our veterans have done so much for our country. Why are they dealing with homelessness so much?" Janet said.

When she became a social worker, she did a study showing a lack of housing for veterans.

"I got this brilliant idea one night and I was telling my husband, 'God wanted me to open up a shelter for veterans,' and we just went from there," Janet said.

James says turning their rental property, into a community living assistance program, was the right thing to do.

"I am very proud. Veterans have done so much for us, so I look at it as, by me and my wife doing something like this here, we're giving back to the community here in Hawkinsville," James said.

Janet and James say that their big goal is to get as many veterans off of the street as possible. They hope to open more community assistance homes in the future.

To qualify for this program, you cannot have a criminal record and you must be willing to pay $700 a month. The cost includes transportation to doctor's appointments, check-ups, and any other necessities.

If you are interested in their services, you can email them at: olivebranchcla@yahoo.com.


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