Niagara Gazette

October 5, 2013

Local group seeks to help homeless vets

LOCKPORT: SERV searches for day center site

BY BILL WOLCOTT
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Jennifer D'Andrea-Terreri, who grew up at Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, is looking for a home — not for herself, but for veterans who are homeless.

SERV stands for "Supporting, Empowering, Respecting Veterans." There are 20,000 vets in Niagara County and 2,000 disabled and/or homeless vets here. Documented homeless vets number 895.

There is a need for expanded services, D'Andrea-Terreri asserts, and SERV Niagara is championing a day center and a home for them.

"There are not a lot of services for the vets," she said.

The mother of four is a liason in the Lockport City Treatment Courts, Niagara County Veterans Treatment Court, co-chairs several community outreach programs, and speaks on various panels regarding substance abuse, domestic violence and the effects on children and families.

D'Andrea-Terreri, who has an office at 80 Park Ave., looked at a house on Locust Street recently, but it needed too much work and cost too much money to rehabilitate. She is looking at other options this week and said the city is helping.

SERV, a 501(c)(3) program, raised almost $14,000 last month at an Elks Club fundraiser and secured the services of a van from Mercedes Benz of Buffalo. The van will be used to transport vets to the day center when it opens — perhaps by Christmas.

The vets house may be years away. A permanent supportive living facility is the long-term project and will cost millions.

"It will take a lot to get that going, D'Andrea-Terreri said.

Volunteers and donations are needed for the day center. Food and clothing donations are welcome and can be dropped off at 80 Park Ave., Lockport. Call 553-6714 or 438-5437.

A wide variety of non-perishable food and clothing has been already distributed to local disabled vets, according to the founder.

The day center will provide a food pantry, showers and laundry facility. Vets can also be linked up with other organizations. SERV has also granted wishes through its Veteran's Wish Program and offers scholarships.

The SERV website is SERVniagara.org.