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Veterans make up 40 Percent of the Diocese of Camden’s Homeless Population

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Gina Ireland, an Army veteran, shares her testimony of overcoming homelessness with her daughter through the help of Catholic Charities. Photo by Michael Walsh

Knights of Columbus Council 6735 of St. Peter Church in Merchantville helped Catholic Charities throw an indoor barbecue on May 21 to raise awareness for the issue of veteran homelessness in South Jersey.

The council reached out to surrounding councils and together donated all of the food for the event, plus the manpower to cook it.

In spite of the rain, parishioners and families helped pack 100 “Welcome Home” kits of toiletries for formerly homeless veterans, and listened as veterans assisted by Catholic Charities’ Veteran Services program shared their stories of service and overcoming homelessness.

The most recent survey of the homeless in South Jersey found that veterans make up 40 percent of the Diocese of Camden’s homeless population. Catholic Charities’ Veteran Services program has served 1,200 veteran households since it started in 2011.