Wire*— Catholic Charities celebrated the grand opening of a new and larger building for MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Airforce) House (755 E. Willetta St.). The expanded transitional living facility will offer veterans personal and individualized resources, advocacy, and most importantly, a safe place to live while they rebuild their lives.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by more than 200 members of the community, donors, dignitaries, and veterans.

MANA House grand opening

Image courtesy of MANA House.

MANA House, originally known as The Madison Streets Veteran’s Association, was founded in 2008 by 14 veterans experiencing homelessness. The program continues to be peer-run and the original founder, Terry Araman, with the help of Catholic Charities’ team members and volunteers, will continue his work and mission at the new location.

“As a Vietnam veteran myself, I have personally experienced what it feels like to be misunderstood and unappreciated by non-veterans. I have also gone through episodes of homelessness and joblessness, without having a support system to fall back on. Veterans are uniquely able to relate to other veterans and provide a solid level of support and assistance,” says Araman.

Catholic Charites’ has plans for a coffee roasting room inside MANA House, where veterans will be roasting, bagging, grinding and selling coffee to gain workforce skills while helping the agency build a coffee roasting social enterprise. The facility also includes recreation rooms, an expanded dining room and kitchen, and an all-faiths chapel.

The new location is expected to house about 50 veterans and will also offer complementary services such as resources, employment search help, transportation assistance, and hygiene kits, to any veterans needing assistance on a daily basis.

Araman hopes the new facility will significantly cut down the number of veterans living on the streets, “Any man or woman who enters the military has answered a call to serve, their family, their community and their country. Often the experiences and traumas of combat, along with disconnection from family and support groups, result in difficulties readjusting to civilian life. We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans who contributed their time and energy to ensure that all of our citizens remain safe and free. We have an obligation to provide the support and care necessary to ensure that all veterans are able to live their lives in dignity and good health, without the added trauma of homelessness.”

For more information about MANA House, to donate or volunteer, please visit www.manahouseaz.org.

*DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from trusted sources without translation.