Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority granted $500,000 to MANA House, a transitional housing facility that connects homeless veterans with resources and training. The facility is run by Catholic Charities Community Services.
Although the original transitional housing unit opened in 2008, this $500,000 grant helped build a newer larger facility with plenty of space for a coffee roaster and kitchen where veterans can get workforce development, a dormitory, and program offices where veterans can meet with action plan advisors to help them navigate resources and training that will get them back in the workforce and into permanent housing.
The center helps people like Pete Fleckenstein.
“If you told me I was going to be homeless, and nothing is going to go right, I would have told you that you were crazy,” said Pete, a former MANA House resident.
Six years ago, Pete was at the top of his career as a senior executive at a construction development firm, but when the market crashed, Pete lost his job.
He started his own software company, but that company went under as well.
“Three, four months after that my father died,” said Pete. “Shortly thereafter, I went through a divorce. I just sort of checked out for a little bit.”
Now homeless, Pete says he couch surfed, but ended up living in the desert alone.
“It was 119 degrees, and I said, ‘you’ve got to get your head back in the game,’” said Pete.
And that’s what it took to ask for help.
“I made a phone call and got into MANA House, and sat down with them and they laid out an action plan. They wrapped all these services around me and supported me. They removed all the barriers for me experiencing homelessness: the shelter, the food, the clothing, the hygiene, transportation as well shuttling us to appointments everything like that,” said Pete. “About six months into it, I actually got two job offers. It was a success.”
Pete now works for MANA House helping Catholic Charities Community Services run the transitional housing unit.
“We really couldn’t do it without our community partners,” said Wendy Owens with Catholic Charities Community Services.
A new larger MANA House has been built thanks to several partners including Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority.
“It’s about helping them find a job,” said Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, District 5. “It’s about helping them get back on their feet. Many providers are going to be here helping the veterans. A facility like this will allow them to support each other and find help when needed.”
“They’ve given a lot in the service so it’s nice that we can come in and help them transition into civilian life,” said Steve Bales, Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority President.
“It changes lives,” added Pete.
Learn more about Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority.