Shelter rooms for homeless vets to be renovated thanks to Home Depot

A Charlotte shelter program launched this winter to get veterans and their children off the streets is getting help this week from Home Depot, which is paying for a complete dorm renovation.

Eight rooms at the Salvation Army Center of Hope will be renovated, using free labor from Home Depot staff and a $24,500 grant from the Home Depot Foundation to buy such things as lighting, bathroom fixtures, flooring, counters and cabinets.

The shelter program, which reserves 23 beds for vets and their families, is part of a broadening community effort to help Charlotte’s veterans after leaving the military.

Shelter officials said it currently houses nine families headed by veterans and has a small waiting list.

John Reinke of Home Depot said the project aims to make the 20-year-old dorm space feel more homelike for the families, who are working to find jobs.

“It’s not a terrible place. It looks like a 1970s hospital now: very sterile and very basic amenities,” Reinke said. “We just want to give back to veterans who have given so much of their lives to us.”

Veterans who live in the dorm rooms are being temporarily housed in an area hotel.

In another act of community good will, the Golden Corral restaurant at 7701 N. Tryon St. in Charlotte is providing lunch and dinner to the families at no charge while they are away from the shelter, officials said.

Deronda Metz, director of the Center of Hope shelter, said the renovation will also include erecting a door that will separate the coed veterans’ facility from the rest of the shelter, which is dedicated to women and children.

The 250-bed shelter decided to set aside space in November for veterans, with the help of federal dollars. It is the only shelter in the city that reserves beds for veterans and their families.

Once in the shelter, veterans are enrolled in programs that work to get them into apartments as quickly as possible, using benefits and rent subsidies.