Kinard Manor to close Sept. 30

By Katie Scarvey

Communications Specialist, Lutheran Services Carolinas

LSC program in Greenwood, S.C. has served 319 veterans

With its whiteboard chart keeping a running tally of the number of veterans it served, Kinard Manor in Greenwood, S.C., was perhaps not the most high-tech of transitional housing programs. It was, however, a lifeline to the 319 veterans who have called it home, temporarily, since 2007. Slightly more than half of those men successfully completed the program.

The home will be closing Sept. 30, and that closing is a marker of the remarkable progress made in this country over the past 15 years in reducing veteran homelessness. Referrals to Kinard Manor had slowed to a trickle as the VA moved toward a voucher model to help veterans who need support in securing housing.

Lutheran Services Carolinas ran Kinard Manor using a house provided by Immanuel Lutheran Church in Greenwood. The home has been supported by many in the area, including the American Legion Post 20.

In 2011 Kinard Manor was named the top-rated transitional home for veterans in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

Participants got a place to stay, meals, clothing and transportation to and from job interviews, school and medical appointments. The Veterans Administration paid for about half the home’s operating costs, with Lutheran Services Carolinas covering the rest.

The majority of the men came into the program because of mental health issues ranging from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance abuse.

Terry Weeks began directing the program in January of 2008, shortly after the program began. Although he retired after serving the program for five years, he’s been a faithful volunteer since then.

He recalls a veteran named Barry he picked up at the mental health ward at the Dorn VA Medical Center. Barry carried a big bag of medication and wore the only clothing he had – dirty sweatpants and T-shirt. Struggling with depression, Barry, a professional painter by trade, couldn’t maintain employment.

“When Barry ‘graduated’ from Kinard Manor approximately six months later, he had a full-time job painting, clothing, and a vehicle that had been donated to the program,” Weeks says. “Barry was able to maintain his independent life until his death from a blood clot several years later.”

“Barry was only one of many clients that I’m glad we were able to help. Several of those still reside in Greenwood and I’m glad to call them my friends.”

Veterans will continue to be served through other LSC programs, including LSC’s homes for adults with traumatic brain injury or programs serving individuals with mental illness. LSC’s Love One Another capital campaign also introduced a challenge goal of $70,000, which will make it possible to fund a part-time staff person to provide two years of case management services to veterans without other resources. LSC continues to welcome veterans into its senior living residences and programs in North Carolina and will seek out additional ways to serve veterans through its programs.

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