BB&T unit helping homeless veterans project

BB&T unit helping  homeless veterans project
June 25
00:00 2015

In photo above: Volunteers from BB&T help with the Homes 4 Our Heroes Project under Whole Man Ministries. (Submitted photo)

Special to the Chronicle

The BB&T Lighthouse project decided to partner with the Homes 4 Our Heroes Project under Whole Man Ministries to give it more momentum.

May 12 was the start of BB&T Lending a Helping Hand with no strings attached.

After two years of setbacks – including rotted floor joists and lead abatement – Whole Man Ministries finished refurbishing one duplex in March of this year, giving two veterans a place to call home. The duplex was achieved with the help of hundreds of volunteers, dozens of churches and several corporations – including BB&T, Gwyn Heating and Cooling, Winston Salem Foundation, Home Depot and Wells Fargo.

The team has a goal of completing the BB&T and Lowe’s duplex by July 1, hoping to take two more veterans off the streets and receive them into permanent supportive housing.

The rehab project’s estimated cost was $631,000 and now due to the partnership with the city of Winston-Salem, many volunteers and community support has brought the cost down to $107,000 to finish.

According to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, 12 percent of the country’s homeless population are veterans, and more than 57,000 are without homes every night. In Winston-Salem the homeless veteran population is at 58 percent, according to the point in time count of January 2015 by the Forsyth County Continuum of Care to end chronic homelessness.

The BB&T chief executive officer (CEO), president, executive vice-president (EVP) and several other executives rolled up their sleeves and made a great impact on the progress of the project, by installing floor joists, crawl space doors and porch columns, planting flowers and painting.

Kelly King, CEO, and Rufus Yates, senior EVP of BB&T, led the first team of 25 BB&T volunteers on May 12. Sandy Mitchell, the executive assistant for Rufus Yates said, “It’s great to see a project that not only will provide permanent housing, but also the supportive care that each veteran needs to one day become a home owner.”

John Mussolini, project leader from BB&T Funds Management, led a second team of 40 BB&T staff on May 29. He said he was very surprised by the progress that had been made in a year.

The third BB&T team worked on the project on Friday, June 12 and the fourth team on Friday, June 19, a day before the Homes 4 Heroes 5K Benefit Run.

Harold Simcox of Nehemiah’s Few of Triad Baptist Church of Kernersville, Marvin Richardson of Bridges Handyman & Home Improvement of High Point, and Keith Rogers of New Canaan Society helped Whole Man Ministries coordinate the BB&T volunteers.

The annual Homes 4 Our Heroes 5K and Fun Run was on Saturday, June 20. The first 5K run held last year had 150 participants with an overall attendance of 400 and raised over $13,000, which helped complete the first duplex.

Kenneth Holly the project Community Developer said, “We are grateful to have partners like BB&T and others like them, who are coming to nudge us along the way. We are thankful for the assistance that the community has invested into this grassroots initiative to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015.”

Whole Man Ministries of NC has teamed with numerous companies and organizations on the project, including the Home Depot Foundation, Scott’s LTD, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Nehemiah’s Few, Vulcan Materials Company, Gwyn Electrical, Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, the James Hardie Company, Frank L. Blum Construction Company and Wells Fargo.

Whole Man Ministries of NC established the Homes 4 Our Heroes Project after recognizing the problem of veteran homelessness in Winston-Salem. Homes 4 Our Heroes’ objective is to provide supportive housing to homeless veterans through a step-by-step selection process, and the referrals of emergency and transition shelters.

For more information about the Homes 4 Our Heroes Project visit or call 336-473-8859.

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