Jacksonville, FL - Just one month ago, the Five STAR Veterans Center in Arlington was optimistic about the future, but while optimism remains, questions of financing grow.
“We’ve got a couple of high hills ahead of us,” says Colonel Len Loving.
Earlier this month the Center formally adopted its new name and leadership, which Loving hoped would revitalize not just the facility but potential donors. The Center is formerly the Allied Veterans Center, but quickly moved to distance itself from Allied Veterans of the World- a major donor- when that was busted in an illegal gambling scandal.
Losing that donor meant having to cut back in order to keep the doors open. Loving says that hasn’t changed at the pace he hoped.
“We’ve really cut back on as much as we possibly can,” he says.
Some of that is evident in the number of veterans housed at the Center, now 21 which is down from 27 about one month ago. Loving says they’re only accepting new residents on an emergency basis.
Long term, he’s working on some possible opportunities, like a partnership with a separate business, however solutions like that are at least six months away. With things the way they are now, Loving says the Center won’t make it far past July.
“We just have to keep our fingers crossed,” he says.
But despite that concern, he’s trying to stay optimistic.
“We will make sure that this continues to operate and we’ll get back on our feet completely,” he says.
Most of the donations coming in now are between $5-$200, but Loving tells me, overall, it’s added to only a few thousand dollars. He’s willing to accept help in almost any form, and you can donate on the Five STAR Veterans Center website.