Photos by Victor M. Rodriguez
On a Saturday evening in May, American Legion Post 107 hosted “In the Trenches: A Hale & Hardy Cocktail Party and Fundraiser” to raise money for housing homeless veterans.
Since 2017, the post has been constructing a new facility, which will include residential units for homeless vets.
Almost 40,000 veterans are homeless in America and another 1.4 million are at risk of having no place of their own. More than two dozen of these homeless vets can be found in Hoboken, according to Post 107.
Tickets for the fundraiser were $100 a pop, which is not a high price to pay to put a roof over the heads of those who served their country.
When we caught up with Post Commander John Carey, he said that construction was slated to be done by the end of June, and they hoped to hit the one million mark in funding. “We’ll all be blessed to open six apartments for our American Legion,” Carey said.
Not Our Proudest Moment
One of the most shameful blights on the American character is that we often don’t adequately care for the men and women who fight for our nation. Among the most disgraceful is the prevalence of homelessness among veterans.
Hoboken is attempting to remedy the situation with the new home for the 92-year-old post, which will house six homeless veterans.
The new construction will replace the single-story, garage-like post at 308 Second St., with a modern five-story building. The new post will be on the second floor. The housing units above will feature full kitchens and baths. It will be the only post in New Jersey with affordable housing for veterans in the same building.
The project is a collaborative effort among the American Legion, Hudson County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hoboken Rotary, Monarch Housing Associates, and The Hoboken Shelter, among many others, including post commanders who donated to the project.
On Oct. 10, 2018, Hoboken held a ceremonial groundbreaking. “Today we aren’t just saying thank you, we are taking real action to support our veterans,” said then Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “The project we are breaking ground on today will provide a flood-resistant new meeting hall on the second floor as well as six units of housing for homeless veterans on three additional floors. And we have partnered with the Hoboken Shelter, which has committed to providing support service to the veterans living here.”
At the ceremony, several post commanders and state representatives expressed pride that Post 107 valiantly overcame being devastated by Superstorm Sandy, which closed the lodge for more than a year.
“The county a few years ago took a vow that we would end veterans’ homelessness in Hudson County,” Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise said at the time. “Over 100 veterans have come and used our services to find housing during that period of time. We won’t stop until all American service people can live a life of dignity in Hudson County and in Hoboken.”—07030