Poconos Coal

Local group turning hotel into home for homeless veterans

Local group is turning hotel into home for homeless veterans

POLK TWP., Pa. - A Monroe County group is working to help homeless veterans get off the streets.

The non-profit is transforming an old hotel into a home for vets.

The building has been standing since the early 1900s in Polk Township, Monroe County.

Now the run-down building, once a hotel, is getting new life, and a new purpose.

"Our motto is 'A hand up on the homefront,'" said Mark Baylis, founder of the VALOR Clinic.

Mark Baylis founded the VALOR Clinic in 2009 after helping veterans complete paperwork to get their benefits.

VALOR stands for "veterans assisted living outreach."

Baylis, an army veteran that served in Baghdad, knew many of the people he was helping were living on the streets.

The goal is to build a 13-bed transitional facility.

The non-profit group raised enough money to buy the old Jonas Hotel.

"Now how do we get it fixed and we kind of put out a call for help," added Baylis "Hey we need some help with labor."

The group says to renovate the building would cost well over $100,000, but the great thing about this project is that they haven't had to pay a dime in labor cost.

People like 87-year-old Christopher Sweeney, a World War II veteran, came to help out.

"Some of these guys really need help regardless of what war it is," said Sweeney.

People continue to donate materials and their time to the project.

"There's no excuse for veterans to be homeless," said volunteer, Michael Dalton. "That's my take on it."

The home is expected to be finished by October 1.

"There was a point where I was worried that we wouldn't make that," said Baylis. "I no longer feel that way."

There is still a need for donations, and volunteers. If you would like to help, click on the VALOR website.

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