“The Homer Flenoy and Loretta Barrow House for Veterans will provide temporary housing to veterans and their families facing homelessness. We couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter for HOPE Calloway! Thank you to the generous donors who made this project possible. A special shoutout goes to Independence Bank for their ongoing support. Their team has been phenomenal in helping make this dream a reality. Finally, thank you to all the men and women who have served out country in the armed forces. We see you. We love you. We are honored to support you in this small way.” – Hope Calloway
HOPE for Veterans opens first dwelling
Murray Ledger & Times
by Hawkins Teague
May 13, 2022
Almost six months to the day HOPE Calloway announced its HOPE for Veterans initiative, the program’s first project was unveiled Thursday.
HOPE Calloway exists to aid Calloway County’s homeless population, and Executive Director Nathan Carter announced the formation of the new program on Veterans Day at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6291/Herman Eddie Roberts Post’s annual ceremony. In the last few months, a community member donated a plot of land on Payne Street for a small house – often referred to as a “tiny house” – to be constructed primarily for the purpose of housing veterans needing a place to live. The donor did not wish to be named, but the facility is named for his uncle and aunt – the Homer Flenoy and Loretta Barrow House for Veterans.
“We started our HOPE for Veterans program last November on Veterans Day,” Carter said. “The goal of the program is really just a supplement to our transitional housing program, but specifically for veterans and their families, because there’s so many resources available to veterans if you can access them and if you can get connected with the right people.”
Carter said HOPE Calloway had partnered with veterans’ organizations agencies to refer people who needed help to Centerstone, the VFW and the Veterans Administration. Carter said a “very generous donor here in our community” then called him to tell him about his idea for the tiny house, not only offering to donate the land but to also take care of construction. Carter said the man built the home to accommodate veterans who might have disabilities, so the shower, hallway and kitchen countertop are easily accessible to someone in a wheelchair.
“We’re very excited about what this house has to offer for our community, and we’re very excited for what the future (holds),” Carter said. “This is really just the first step in a process, and it’s great to see the vision starting to come to fruition. A lot of people ask, ‘Is homelessness really something that we deal with in Calloway County?’ If you’ve been around or you’ve heard us speak before, then you know that our answer to that is yes; it just looks a lot different in our community than what people expect when they go to places like Nashville or even Paducah.
“Homelessness does exist, and in fact, if you look at the national population, 8% of Americans have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in some capacity. If you look at the homeless population in America, nearly 20% of the homeless population are veterans. So there’s this huge disparity between what veterans are dealing with when they come home and the resources that we provide for them. So what we want to do is come alongside veterans and be able to support them as they build a sustainable future.”
Carter said Heidi Shultz, Calloway County president for Independence Bank, approached him about a possible partnership after HOPE for Veterans was announced. He said this is one of several projects the bank plans to help with.
“It has been truly a privilege and an honor for Independence Bank and the team here at Murray to be involved with this project and to be a partner with HOPE Calloway since we first came into the Calloway County market,” Shultz said. “Specifically for this home, we have been able to come in post-construction and do a major cleanup of the property. As you can imagine, a construction project leaves a mess behind, and so it was our privilege to donate the time from the employees of the bank for a couple of days and we got it all cleaned up.
“Most recently, we were able to come in and furnish the unit, so the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom and the living room have all been furnished so that when a client is identified, those folks will be able to move in and have a home that welcomes them and hopefully provides them with the sanctuary they need to get back on their feet financially and physically and really be able to stand on their own long-term.”
Flenoy Barrow – who said he only used his first name Homer when he was in the Army – said he and Loretta were honored when their nephew told them he wanted to spearhead the project to help veterans.
“We were just honored that he thought that much of us to (make us) part of it,” Flenoy said. “We don’t (yet) realize what it will be in the future and who it will help and who will benefit from it. Our biggest goal is that it will help a lot of people over the years. No matter who is helped, it’s something that needs to be done and it’s something that takes time and a lot of money.”
Flenoy, who is a member of Post 6291, said he served as a squad leader in Vietnam in the 1st and 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, from 1967-68.