Jacksonville, FL - Just one month after the Allied Veterans Center in Arlington was looking at closing its doors, it’s now looking at possibly expanding.
“I know the funding is yet to be determined, but I feel pretty good about what our future opportunities could be,” says Center CEO Len Loving.
Allied Veterans of the World is currently under investigation and its leaders are charged in a multi-state illegal gambling sting. Investigators claim Allied affiliate “internet cafes” which were supposed to be raising money for veterans were in fact gambling fronts. It was the most significant donor for a local veteran homeless center “Allied Veterans Center.”
When the raid first took place, Loving tells us the Center’s future was thrown in the air.
“What is gunna be the future of the building, what’s gunna be the future of our bank account,” he says.
Because of those questions, Loving says he and the nearly 30 veterans housed in the Center have been scaling back and scrimping as much as possible to keep the shelter running. They right now have enough funding to stay open at least through late June.
But in the last month, Loving says they’ve officially been put “out of the woods” in regards to the Allied investigation. They’re now in the process of installing a new board, putting in a new organization, and finding a new name.
Once that’s in place, which Loving hopes will be within the month, they can turn attention to the biggest hole that was left from Allied Veterans of the World.
“We have a couple of options available to us. It could produce a quick turnaround of some revenue,” he says.
While he wouldn’t comment specifically on what the plans are, Loving says he is much more “comfortable” now than one month ago, and that’s largely because of the community. He says many people have come forward offering $150, $500, or even $10,000. Once the new organization is in place, he plans to start collecting.
And when the future continues to firm up, Loving says it will not only let them continue their work, but expand even further. He’s got four veterans on the queue waiting for housing at this time, and he hopes to allow them in as early as next month.