More than 7,000 female veterans in the United States are homeless, including women soldiers across Connecticut.
But now there's a safe, new place to keep them off the streets thanks to a $1.2 million, transitional home created for female veterans and their young children.
The private first class Nicholas A. Madaras home in Bridgeport looks like any other home on the outside.
The home, which opened in November, is a labor of love built in memory of a Wilton soldier, Private First Class Nicholas A. Madaras, who was killed in an IED while deployed to Iraq in 2006.
After his death, Madaras' mother Shalini became aware of the plight of female veterans while working with "Kick for Nick," a charity her son had started, which provides soccer balls to needy children worldwide.
The home is an extension of his love for children.
"If it wasn't for this house, I don't know where I would be," said Retired Army Private Ranaye Hawley, who was the first veteran to move into the home.
In partnership with the charity Female Soldiers, Forgotten Heroes the Madaras home was built.
Joy Kiss, who oversees the home, said no veteran should be left homeless on the streets if they've defended our country.
"If it wasn't for this house, I don't know what I'd do. Most family is dead and daughters are out of town," said Monet Perry, who served in Army Reserves and moved in last month.
The home has eight bedrooms scattered throughout the first, second and third floors, each decorated with donated furniture, art and lots of love.
Women and children can stay up to two years.
But Perry is confident she'll be gone sooner than that after she took advantage of the on-site counseling offered to every tenant.
"I'm further than I thought I could be. I have a job now. I feel more comfortable with myself because I'm doing my own thing," she said.
If you're a female veteran in need of transitional housing, call 203-338-0669.
To learn more about Homes For the Brave click here.
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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