Helping Heroes plans Wheeling Center
Expands services for veterans at former OVMC complex
WHEELING — Helping Heroes is pleased to announce plans for a new and expanded Center for Veteran Resources to be housed in the former Hillcrest space on the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus. The current office is staffed by seven employees and is located in Moundsville.
“The Wheeling location will benefit the veterans we serve in many ways,” Jeremy Harrison, co-founder, said. “Access to transportation, education, mental health services, and potential employment will create opportunities for our clients as we work to help them find and maintain permanent housing. No veteran should ever have to worry about where they’re going to sleep at night.”
During the pandemic, Helping Heroes has experienced a dramatic increase in veterans served. Currently, the agency is serving more than twice the typical number of veteran families who are struggling to obtain, or maintain, permanent housing. During the last fiscal year, Helping Heroes served 42 veteran families. In the first quarter of this year, 45 veteran families have already received services.
“Our data shows that, though we have clients in every county in our service area, nearly three quarters of our veteran families are located in Ohio County and most are in or near the city of Wheeling,” R.J. Konkoleski, executive director, said. “The physical location will enable us to increase walk-in access and the size of the space will allow us to expand our scope of services. We appreciate Mayor (Glenn) Elliott, the council, and city officials for working with us to make this possible.”
Helping Heroes will begin to establish office operations immediately and plans to relocate five residential, transitional housing units later in the year.
“The new space will give us the flexibility to add additional staff members, increase the number of transitional housing units we maintain, and to add an emergency shelter component to our growing list of services, in addition to increasing our resource and benefit referral component. This location plays an integral part in helping us make an even greater impact in the population of veterans experiencing homelessness, and helping our veterans reintegrate into stable, long-term housing,” Konkoleski said.
The initial agreement runs now through Sept. 30, which is the end of the VA funding cycle and the agency’s fiscal year. During that time, Helping Heroes intends to enter into a longer-term lease that could potentially lead to the purchase of the building. Helping Heroes Inc. is a community-based, nonprofit organization founded and administered by veterans and veteran supporters. In addition to local contributions, Helping Heroes receives federal grant funding through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It provides local emergency support services and resources to homeless and near homeless, as well as any other veterans in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio and Wetzel counties in order to transition them to, or maintain, self-sufficiency. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, visit helpingheroesinc.org.