Rockland Homes for Heroes is a not for profit charity chartered to build and operate apartment homes for homeless veterans. When speaking with the RCT, John Murphy, president of Rockland Homes for Heroes stated,” our goal is to help end veteran homelessness”. Their latest endeavor is the development of new housing at Camp Shanks, a former military base used as the primary staging area for American soldiers sent across the Atlantic during World War 2. With the cooperation of the Federal Government, Camp Shanks now offers a more permanent home for those who served in America’s armed forces.
Rockland Homes for Heroes had purchased 15 acres of Camp Shanks 10 years ago and turned half of the property over to the town of Orangetown, the remaining land used to construct eight affordable permanent apartments for homeless veterans. In November 2013 Rockland homes for heroes officially opened its first apartments style housing units at 335 Western Highway in Tappan.
Pleased with the results, Murphy is now working to expand the project. ” I decided to build 14 more supportive permanent apartments using the abandoned buildings from the 1950 s on part of the seven acres that was once headquarters for nation’s Nike missile program, converting the former silos into 14 permanent affirmative supportive homes.”
The organization plans to hold a ribbon cutting in early November, in time for Veterans Day, and the new units be made available to only ” homeless” veterans not those looking for more affordable housing ” Murphy told RCT.
“Fundraising comes from the state of New York as well as other charitable organizations, and we’ve raised what amounts to 6 million dollars ”
Murphy, a veteran of the Marine Corps and former County Legislator, is well aware of the challenges faced by Veterans trying to reintegrate into society and confounded Rockland’s branch of Home for Heroes in the hopes of helping his fellow former solderers. Murphy is also the co-founder of the Loeb house, a similar organization that helps provide homes for the mentally ill.
“I’m not a doctor or a psychiatric or have any special skills,but the most important thing a vulnerable person needs is ,not just the services, is a home, a place to sleep ,have food , water and clothing. We start with the basics and give them a home they deserve. Homelessness is life without a future and it breeds loneliness, despair, hopelessness, depression and addiction: Homes for Heroes is fighting to give our veterans a chance to create a meaningful life outside of uniform.”