You can help someone in need as they transition into permanent housing. Read more about how this idea came to fruition and the background on the man who started it.
Fred Silhol is a military veteran from Audubon, NJ. He served 20 years in the 82nd airborne division as a paratrooper serving in Korea and Germany. After retiring from the armed forces in 2006, Silhol was recruited a few years later to train soldiers and marines in defeating IEDs in Afghanistan. When his training contract ended, he returned to New Jersey, however with the high cost of living and a limited income, he found himself without a home or a helping hand.
“There was no yellow ribbon when I came back. I thought I had enough money to survive, but soon the money ran out.”
Silhol was able to live in a motel for a short period of time, but as funds quickly depleted, so did his options and he had no choice but to live in his car.
“You never plan on living in your car. I had a cat, what’s the cat going to do? And little challenges, like where am I going to take a shower?”
He reached out to several government agencies in hopes for assistance, but he claims it wasn’t until he was put in contact with Volunteers of America Delaware Valley (VOADV) that he received any help.
VOADV placed Silhol in Home for the Brave (HFTB), a facility that serves displaced veterans. His case worker assisted him in the search for affordable housing, and after only being at HFTB for a few weeks he found an apartment.
It was only when he attempted to make dinner that he realized he did not have basic household items, nor did he have the means to purchase them. So in an effort to prevent others from facing the same dilemma, Silhol partnered with VOADV and created the Homewarming Kits. It is a kit consisting of essential appliances and items that will help those in need transitioning from a shelter to permanent housing.
“I kind of call this Phase II; it’s the period after being homeless and getting back on your feet.”
Silhol is now working full time at a restaurant in Cherry Hill and is also enrolled in college as a full time student, majoring in hospitality and communication.