SAN JOSE, California – The San Jose-based “Open Doors to Future Possibilities” nonprofit will raise funds on Veterans Day to expand its services to help veterans. The majority are homeless in Santa Clara County. The association’s founder said she was trying to keep up with demand.
âWe have a lot of veterans who find it hard to even keep regular jobs because of all these memories repeating,â said founder Dr Simone Lundquist.
Lundquist, who has worked in community mental health services for years, started the association “in 2019. The association helps more than 1,500 veterans and their families in Santa Clara County with groceries, housing transition and advice, all free of charge.
âSanta Clara County unfortunately has a lot of homeless veterans,â said Dr. Lundquist.
Lundquist said their services are increasingly in demand as more military personnel return home from overseas.
“Especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” said Dr Lundquist. “We have troops coming back. They need a lot of help. They come back thinking they didn’t achieve their goals there.”
The association is raising funds to hire more staff and move to a space three times the size for more therapy rooms. They are also moving to the first floor to accommodate disabled veterans.
“They feel like they don’t really know where to go after they get home,” said consultant Ellen Fosse.
Fosse helps distribute boxes of food and clothing to over 100 veterans in South Bay every other Friday.
Office manager Irene Raymond, a single mother who has suffered a trauma herself, wants to give back.
âI know what it’s like to need help and now that I have had the chance to get the help I need, I would love to help others,â Raymond said.
All are seeing veterans in need day in and day out during the pandemic. They hope to show them care and gratitude.
âSupport our veterans in any way possible,â said Fosse. “They need us now. They have done so much for us.”
The association launched a Gofundme.
For those who are interested and want to learn more about them, they will be collecting donations at the Bass Pro Shop in San Jose on Thursday at 2pm.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.