Jacksonville, FL - A local veteran’s shelter is doing everything it can to distance itself from the Allied Veterans of the World scandal and keep its doors open.
“I’m gunna make every effort I can to keep this place open, because I believe in what we’re doing,” says Len Loving.
Len and Suzi Loving run the Allied Veterans Center in Arlington, and they have stopped taking pay in order to keep the center open a little longer. They are also in the process of trying to restructure the organization, install a new board and change the center’s name- which rings close to Allied Veterans of America.
Allied Veterans of America leadership is accused of running illegal gambling sites under the guise of internet cafes benefiting veteran’s charities. Len says the organization donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the shelter, and they’re now unsure where their support will come from.
“Most of the veterans here are totally penniless,” Suzi says.
Suzi tells us the center has an important role in not just housing the veterans, but getting them back on their feet.
“Ownership, because they have their own room. Pride, because they’re making money and they’re going forward,” she says.
They have received some support so far, people calling in to offer donations. She says the best way to help out is to mail in a check. In the meantime, Len says they will be able to keep the doors open through June or July, but they are sitting down with the veterans who live there this weekend to talk about things that will need to change to push that deadline as much as possible.