Maine's only women veterans transitional home nears two years of helping veterans
The only transitional home in Maine specifically for female veterans is marking its two year anniversary this Fall.
The Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope in Augusta helps veterans get on their feet.
"This is the Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope," said Martha Everatt-St. Pierre, Founder and Executive Director of the Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope. "We house homeless and in-need female veterans and their children and their service dogs. We allow the women anywhere from two days, if they just need a quick place to stay, or they can stay up to two years."
It started in In the Fall of 2017 after Everatt-St. Pierre realized there was no organization in Maine offering these services for women veterans.
"And I kept being told that, 'Oh there are no homeless female veterans in the state of Maine.' And I kept saying, 'Yeah, if we have homeless veterans, I'm pretty sure some of them have to be female.' And as I said, since we've opened the doors, we've never been empty," said Everatt-St. Pierre.
They give women a place to stay, assist them with getting health care at TOGUS or MaineGeneral, help them with finding a job, and more.
"Our goal was to get these women back on their feet emotionally and financially so that they can get an apartment or a house of their own on and again have some dignity and respect for themselves and be able to live their lives," said Everatt-St. Pierre.
They say being around people with similar backgrounds gives them a sense of camaraderie.
"Peer counseling is really important to us," said Everatt-St. Pierre. "We make sure that everybody eats dinner together at night family-style, so they can talk about their day -- if they've had a bad day or a good day, or maybe there's something on their mind that they didn't feel they could talk to Nancy or I about because neither one of us are veterans. So sometimes they need to talk to another veteran."
They aren't currently funded by the federal or state governments, so they're looking for donations of fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables -- as well as monetary donations.
If you're interested in helping out, you can message them on the Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope Facebook page, or visit their website betsyannrosshouseofhope.com.