Since its founding in 2017, Heroes Without a Home has assisted more than 30 veterans in finding safe and temporary homes while also providing them with job training, mental health services and access to daily hot meals.
The founder of Heroes Without a Home, Melvin Fagan, 72, started the program to help veterans transition into homes and provide resources to help them get back on their feet.
Fagan was in the Air Force from 1967 to 1970, where he fought in the Vietnam War.
“I wanted to go serve the country and help people,” Fagan said, adding that the Air Force had a “great” impact on his life.
“It shows the sacrifices people made for their life and for the country and supporting other people. It opened my eyes to a lot of great things,” he said.
Fagan noticed that after he came home from the war, there were many people who did not want to support veterans and treated them like strangers. According to Fagan, many veterans felt hopeless and had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fagan said many veterans are not aware of the resources out there to help them once they come back home.
Lanny Crabens is a retired veteran who joined Heroes Without a Home in 2017. Crabens was in the Air Force from 1980 to 1987. Crabens said he not only wanted to serve his country, but he also joined the Air Force to get into electronic warfare because of his fascination with the rise of electronics around that time.
Crabens came back home in 1987, where life for him had changed drastically. He had a difficult time finding a home and a job. The places where Crabens could find housing were in unsafe areas, and he noticed many people did not respect him for serving in the military.
Crabens said it was difficult for him to adjust to normal life after his time in the military. He found Heroes Without a Home while living in a homeless shelter.
“It’s allowed me to get my purpose back,” Crabens said, adding that the program has a “wonderful environment.”
Crabens is currently in school for cyber security and is living in one of the homes the program has provided for him.
For veterans in need of housing, contact Heroes Without a Home at 317-540-6485 or online at helpavet.info.
Contact staff writer Timoria Cunningham at 317-762-7854. Follow her on Twitter at @_timoriac.
Note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect Lanny Crabens’ time in the Air Force.