Last Updated on May 24, 2022 by Luke Feldbrugge
Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center provides programs, integrated resources, and collaborative partnerships for our military, veterans, and their families. The Homes for Heroes Foundation presented a $10,000 grant to the organization to help it fulfill its mission. This Homes for Heroes Foundation grant is part of the Homes for Heroes’ Circle of Giving, providing assistance for heroes in dire need across the country.
Homes for Heroes Outreach Coordinator, Jay Flynn, talks to Madison Bell and Carrie Lukins and presents them with a $10,000 Foundation Check.
You can watch the full interview here or read the transcript of the interview below.
Jay: Hello and thanks everyone for joining us today. I’m Jay Flynn, Homes for Heroes hero outreach coordinator, and I’m joined today by Madison Bell with Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center and Carrie Lukins, owner/broker at Sellstate Alliance Realty and Property Management.
Hey Madison and Carrie, how are you guys?
Madison: Great Jay, thanks for having us. We are excited.
Jay: Awesome, awesome. As part of the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving, the Homes for Heroes Foundation provides grants to nonprofits whose missions are to help heroes in dire need. Madison, Carrie, I am so happy to share that Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center is going to be a Homes for Heroes Foundation May 2022 grant recipient.
Madison: Wow, thank you. We are so excited. Thank you for this opportunity.
Jay: Awesome. Madison the Homes for Heroes Foundation is honored to present Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center with a $10,000 grant. There’s the big check. Congratulations.
Madison: Thank you so much.
Jay: Awesome. You guys know May is military appreciation month, and we always owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who are currently serving and who have served in our nation’s military. There’s many challenges that our veterans face. Madison, you and I were chatting and your husband’s in the Army, so you know exactly what we’re talking about, Right?
We’re hoping that this grant is just a little small piece and a little small tool to help Mount Carmel in its mission to serve our nation’s heroes. So let’s take just a little bit and talk about Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center and its mission. First of all, Carrie, you’re why we’re here, right? We got this grant nomination from you, so take just a minute and tell us why you nominated Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center for the Homes for Heroes Foundation grant.
Carrie: I was really excited to be able to nominate Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center for the Foundation grant. The outreach that they have in our community allows them to act as a bridge between the service members, the veterans, and other resources from the VA. A lot of our service members are lost in transition. As a proud military spouse and a proud military mom, having something like Mount Carmel to take care of our veterans is important. They need someone to hold their hands and walk them through everything that they need–whether it’s mental health services or veteran benefit services or helping them learn interview techniques or job placement or housing. We’ve been involved with Mount Carmel as community partners for almost five years now. My business partner and I actually pay for an apartment, hosted by Mount Carmel, for homeless veterans. They take homeless veterans off the street and put them in transitional housing for 90 days. I believe that we’re going to use this grant to get another apartment so we can help more of our homeless veterans every day.
Jay: Wow, that is awesome. It’s obvious why you nominated them, for sure. So Madison, how long has Mount Carmel been serving the military and veteran community?
Madison: We have had our doors open–this will be six years–so quite a few years. But it does go back even further than that. We started with the Mount Carmel Health and Wellness Center in Trinidad. Jay Chimino worked with Bob McLaughlin to create the service center in the spring. So we’ve had our doors open for six years and have just grown incredibly in such a short amount of time.
Jay: Wow, obviously there’s a great need, which is why you saw the growth. You’ve expanded and provided more services for our veterans and our military community. Tell us a little bit about the programs and things that you guys do. Expand on that a little bit and talk about how you guys are of assistance.
Madison: Absolutely, we try to be that one-stop shop, right? In addition to the multiple partners within our building that all offer veteran services, we have an optometrist, we have Volunteers of America who work with homeless veterans, we have different mortgage lenders who come in and help clients through the home buying process. Then we have our three main services.
- We have behavioral health, which offers low-to-no cost individual counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling. They also offer alternative therapies: TaI ChI, Yoga, art expression. I think there’s seven or eight of them, so quite a few different alternative therapies if one-on-one counseling isn’t your thing, or you want both. Those alternative therapies are free of cost to the clients.
- We then have our transition and employment team. They’re not a placement service but they do work one-on-one with clients. They’ll work on resumes. They’ll see our peer navigators and go through Indeed and work through a job posting with them and show them exactly how that works. They also offer different workshops. We have resume workshops, Indeed workshops, and then we have our prep connect workshop–where they spend time learning interview skills. Then they practice those skills and actually get to go on interviews within organizations within the community.
- Then we have our program which is military veteran and family services. We are kind of the catch-all within our program. We have five programs. We offer non-clinical case management through supportive services in our client program. That’s just the term for case management, short-term or long-term. We have our financial wellness program. We have a financial coach who will meet one-on-one with our clients: any veterans, active duty military, reserve, guard in the community. He works with other partners who offer their one-on-one coaching. He also offers some workshops. Right now we have our VA home loan buying workshop. Then we have a program that focuses on connecting veterans to other veterans, as well as connecting veterans to the community resources.
A big part of this is us being out in the community and letting people know we’re here, as well as learning about the other organizations and resources. Then, as Carrie mentioned, there is our Operations Step-up Program. That’s our housing program, and that is one of our biggest focuses this year–growing this program and seeing what we can make with it.
Currently we have that one transitional unit. This will hopefully get us our second. Big picture though, we want 10 to 14 transitional units. We want permanent supportive housing where you have partnerships with upcoming apartment buildings for long-term permanent housing, along with affordable housing or supportive housing. So we have lots of different plans and ideas for our Operation Step up Program, and this is going to help us get that off the ground. We’re really excited.
Jay: Awesome. We’re so thrilled that this grant is going to be used and that you’ve got a specific purpose that’s going to help that veteran who is in need. We’re just so excited to be able to help with that.
Madison, tell us a little bit about how our audience can get involved and support you.
Madison: You can always give our main line a call and connect with our Greet and Connect team. They can point you in any direction. We also have our volunteer coordinator, Linda Sink, and she can get you connected to volunteer opportunities. The biggest way, I guess, would be just knowing about Mount Carmel by visiting our website anytime. Look at what we do and where we are in the community. And spread the word.
Jay: Awesome, and that’s really what it’s all about with Homes for Heroes: spread the word to the hero groups to let everybody know we’re here. You know this is just a small piece of that and how we’re able to give back through the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving. It’s just wonderful that we’re able to do that so you can do great things. It’s wonderful to hear how these funds are going to be used. Carrie, thank you so much for nominating this wonderful group to the Foundation. Thank you both for joining us and taking a few minutes out of your day to talk about this and talk about what Mount Carmel is doing for our military and veterans.
Carrie: Thank you so much. Thanks to Ruth and the Foundation. We appreciate you so much.
Jay: Absolutely, Ruth Johnson is our founder of Homes for Heroes. She is wonderful and has a heart of gold for sure. To you guys out there in our audience, thank you so much for watching. An easy way for you to show support for us is by giving this video a “like” or leave a comment below. Make sure you tune in to future episodes to learn more about the non-profits that we’re partnering with in order to help heroes across the nation that are in dire need. Thanks for joining us everybody. Have a great day.
Homes for Heroes Foundation
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate professionals who are committed to providing savings on home and mortgage buy, sell and refinance transactions for firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
Please take a moment to learn more about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the grants it provides nonprofit organizations who help heroes in need, or simply to make a donation.