facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Giving Back: Recovery Housing for Veterans

Chicago addict renovates homes for addicted vets with help from Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Image: 

Hard road for homeless vets.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

By Dirk Hanson

06/09/11

| Share

Jeff Gilbert of Batavia, Illinois, can’t claim to know what it’s like to serve in the military—but he does know something about alcoholism and other drug addictions.  While researching for his doctorate in psychology, he made it his business to learn about the plight of addicted veterans. What he learned motivated him to create U.S. VETCare, which the Chicago Tribune described as “a program specifically designed to help addicted veterans in recovery-home settings.” Gilbert and his wife are the cofounders of Hope for Tomorrow,  a nonprofit resident treatment program for addiction, which Gilbert founded in 1999 as part of his battle with his own addictions.

Gilbert is renovating two of the existing Hope For Tomorrow recovery houses with funding from the city of Aurora and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Join Together reports  that veterans must undergo “an extensive evaluation in order to be accepted in VETCare. Once accepted, they must work and do daily chores and attend five counseling meetings a week. They are subject to drug and alcohol testing.” VETCare is currently treating 24 veterans, with an average stay of 187 days. “We ask to come here. We’re not sentenced to come here,” one ex-Marine told the Tribune. “We can leave anytime we want to.”

Janet Swanson, captain of the local Neighborhood Watch organization where one of the homes is located, said that there had “never been a problem. They are always polite… They have the right to be part of our neighborhood as much as anybody else.” This kind of open-mindedness is not always found at local hearings and on local zoning boards. But in Gilbert’s case, objections from Chicago neighbors weren’t really his concern. Money for home remodeling is his immediate concern. Motorcycles rallies, golf outings, and pig roasts are in the works.  “We want to complete this project and not accumulate debt,” he said. “We want to do whatever we can to help troops get back on their feet and get back into the game of life.”

Most Popular
Sober Living
How I Forgave the Woman Who Helped My Son Die of an Overdose

She introduced him to the drug that eventually killed him. It took a long time, but eventually I had to treat her the way my son would have wanted.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv