Our BeginningsCamp Nora



Camp NORA is one of two programs that support homeless veterans administered by Ride of the Brotherhood; an IRS 501(c) 3 organizations located in Lacombe, LA ( St. Tammany Parish). The other program is The Return, which involves the locating of remains of those Americans buried in Vietnam who have not been returned home, our MIAs (Missing in Action). Camp NORA provides a wide array of program and supportive services to veterans, service members, and their families.  It is a one-stop veterans housing, outreach, and supportive services program serving the Gulf Coast Region.  

A major focus of the organization is eradicating homelessness among veterans of the U.S. military. As a result of providing shelter and addressing the triggers of homelessness such as PTSD, job skills substance abuse, sense of community, etc. achieving that goal is complex and requires more than putting a roof over the veterans' head. Camp NORA seeks to support veterans in their quest to regain self-sufficiency, stability and respect. 

Why are there so many homeless veterans? Veterans returning from combat duty with PTSD, disabling physical injuries, and few marketable skills or transferable skills often can't find or keep jobs. With no salary to support them, military families face a foreclosure rate four times the national average.  Lack of supportive services and social isolation after their discharge contribute to their plight.

It's a vicious cycle. Joblessness led to homelessness, which leads to hopelessness, substance abuse and/or depression, which limit the veteran's ability to find a new job.  The statistics are: 

  • Approximately 1 out of every 4 homeless males in the U.S. is a veteran. 
  • Veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless. 
  • More than half a million veterans are homeless at some time during the year. 
  • Homelessness affects veterans of all wars.
  • In St. Tammany Parish, there are as many as 30 homeless veterans on any given night. 

However, a growing list of more than 35 communities and the entire states of Connecticut, Delaware, and Virginia, have proven that ending Veteran homelessness is possible and sustainable.  As documented through the Federal Criteria and Benchmarks, they have proven that we can drive down the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness to as close to zero as possible, while also building and sustaining systems that can effectively and efficiently address Veterans' housing crises in the future. 

The national data tell the same story of remarkable progress.  Thanks to unwavering commitment and partnership at the federal, state, and local levels, we've reduced Veteran homelessness by 47% in this country between 2010 and 2016--including a remarkable 17% r3eduction during 2015 alone--and achieved a 56% reduction in Veterans experiencing unsheltered homelessness. 

Still there is more to do and we know what to do; we need you!

Camp NORA will bring hope to veterans and their families with its emergency (1 to 3 days), transitional (up to 24 months), and long-term supportive housing (permanent).  The program criteria are based on a safe, drug- and alcohol-free and supportive facility for males and females.  The housing and related supportive services provide veterans a stable base from which to get medical and psychological assessments, job skill training, and socialization integration that will ultimately lead to their return to productive independent living. 

Our Local Strategies to End Veteran Homelessness is as follows:

Start at the Top

Get State and Local Leaders to Publicily Commit to and Coordinate Efforts on Ending Veteran homelessness

Housing First System

Implement a Housing First System Orientation and Response

Entry System

Implement a Coordinated Entry System

Goals

Set and Meet Ambitious Short and Long-Term Goals by Deploying All Resources Effectively

Emergency Shelter

Create Emergency Shelter and Improve Transitional Housing Performances and Consider Adopting Different Models and/or Converting or Reallocation Resources into Supportive Housing

We have identified the Danielle Inn located in Folsom, LA which we put under contract for a price of $635,000 on 10/16/2017. Given our use, and their support for our use, the current owners are providing financing, requiring a down payment of $200,000 and 36 monthly payments of $3,200 with a final balloon payment of $319,800 due at the end of three years. Note that the full $3,200 paid each month applies to the purchase price as does the down payment.  The down payments are broken into four payments of $50,000 with the first due after the conclusion of a thirty (30) day inspection period the next due in 90 days the next in 180 days and the final in 270 days.  If, at the end of the inspection period we decide to go forward then that payment and each subsequent $50,000 payment apply to the purchase price but are not refundable. 

Image

We have identified the Danielle Inn located in Folsom, LA which we put under contract for a price of $635,000 on 10/16/2017. Given our use, and their support for our use, the current owners are providing financing, requiring a down payment of $200,000 and 36 monthly payments of $3,200 with a final balloon payment of $319,800 due at the end of three years. Note that the full $3,200 paid each month applies to the purchase price as does the down payment.  The down payments are broken into four payments of $50,000 with the first due after the conclusion of a thirty (30) day inspection period the next due in 90 days the next in 180 days and the final in 270 days.  If, at the end of the inspection period we decide to go forward then that payment and each subsequent $50,000 payment apply to the purchase price but are not refundable. 

Image

This property is 17.61 acres just minutes from downtown Covington, but just far enough to keep our residents away from those temptations that could hinder their short term recovery from "life stresses." The property is currently not being used but has an updated sprinkler system that meets fire code, large kitchen with an abundance of appliances, upstairs and downstairs living space, 13 total bedrooms, 8.5 total bathrooms, 2 laundry rooms, and an office.

This property also has a 1,150 sf +/- chapel building, a 2.2 +/- acre pond, and pre-poured slab for outdoor gazebo, potential 2nd building or event space. 

Annual operating costs for the 24 hour/7days a week operation are $424,000 as follows:

Salary and Benefits

$220,000 for 6 staff persons

Operational Costs

$204,000 for participant support, staff training & overhead.


The annual operating expenses will be funded by the monthly $1,400 stipend, per housed veteran, available through the VA qualifying facilities.  Our Camp Nora is a qualifying facility and will be certified as soon as we submit our final plan, including a facility that will be inspected for compliance.  his facility fits that criterion.  We will be able to house 25 veterans at a time. In addition to the VA stipend we are seeking private donations to provide additional contingency dollars and to enhance programming.  We just started that process and have monthly commitments of $500 and project that number will rise substantially when we can secure the facility and tour interested participants to support our efforts.

In addition to the annual operating costs, the upfront costs to kick off the facility are as follows: 

Purchase of property$200,000

Down payment on the purchase of the property.

Twelve Installments$38,400

First twelve installments do for the property

Furniture and furnishings$25,000

Deferred Maintenance$86,600

TOTAL$350,000

We are working with grant writers to identify additional sourcing of the costs of the initial purchase but will seek to fund the initial capital requirement through donations and short term loans repaid after the funding of the grants. There are several grant programs available including the VA for this type of facility and operation.

Camp NORA will provide the following services to its residents:

  • Stable housing environment
  • Medical & Mental Services (Contracted with VA and Local service providers)
  • Food and clothing
  • Job skill training
  • Job placement services
  • Social integration support

This location offers a future possibility of single resident dwellings that can be available to Veterans and their families with low income or special needs.  There are zoning challenges that we face to that end but we hope we can meet them. Whether or not we are able to accomplish this the large acreage gives us a great resources that will be incredibly useful for rehabilitation programming.  

Just this month we added to our growing list of supports the 22nd Judicial Court System (home to the Veteran's Court), Judge Childress and the District Attorney's office.  Why is this so important, well as of this writing, 10/18/2017, there are currently eight (8) veterans in jail for minor offenses and are not being released because they are homeless.  This is an issue that is staring us in the face, giving us an opportunity to stand in the gap for these men and women who gave so much for all of us and are caught up in a cycle that can be broken, IF we can open Camp NORA and finally provide the unique care required right here in St. Tammany Parish.  We think of ourselves as a blessed community but there is need all around us.  Camp NORA can save lives, resurrect lives and give you an opportunity through your stewardship to see your resources make a difference, specifically, in the lives of many of our heroes who deserve so much more and in our community as a whole.

Please prayerfully consider our request for your assistance, help us help those in need, help us help those who can turn their lives around and become productive members or our community, and who can fully experience God's grade and peace.  Help us help our HEROES whose valiant personal sacrifices enable us to live in peace and prosperity here in this remarkable United States of America.

For additional information, contact Ed Lewis, President/CEO at (504)234-0778 and/or Jeffrey Marshall, Chairman at (985)246-9341