The greatest needs among homeless veterans are safe, affordable housing and mental health services.
Army veteran Kendrick Mobley is aiming to tackle both with a housing initiative under the non-profit Montrel Living. The goal of the initiative is to transition veterans out of emergency shelters and into their own living space, while providing veterans with mental and social health care.
The non-profit has gained the support of Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway, after Mobley spoke in front of city council in August. With the help of volunteers and donated company resources, members of Montrel Living remodel dilapidated homes in south Dallas to provide alternative housing for homeless veterans.
“We will be using the homes as a space to build community among veterans. We want to see them physically fit mentally prepared to be successful in the workforce,” said Mobley. “I think a lot of veterans come back from war, and they don’t know how to cope.”
Mobley was deployed twice, once to Iraq and again to Afghanistan.
“I love the military and I love the army, but when I came back home, I brought the last deployment with me," he said. "It was a hard deployment. I was dealing with depression, anxiety and PTSD. The support that I had in the army was gone. I didn’t know how to cope.”
During his struggle with mental illness, Mobley lost his job, his home and family. In 2016 his only option for housing was the Dallas Life Homeless Shelter.
“That was a low point," he said. "I remember looking around and seeing that there were a lot of other men and women my same age and who were veterans. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through. This situation made me reevaluate myself and it made me want to help others more.”
After Mobley Dallas Life, he started to research housing for veterans. He went to Dallas City Hall to fight for housing for veterans.
“The resources aren’t there yet. I am trying to whatever I can to help bridge the gap," he said. "Veterans are dying because they do not know how to cope with the trauma they have faced. They are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope. There are so many who are homeless and don’t want to get help because they do not trust the system. I want them to know there are people who care for them and want to see them thrive.”
According to the most recent reports from Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, there are 278 homeless veterans within the city of Dallas. Montrel Living has moved two veterans into one home. The remodeling of a second home is in the near future.