Formerly homeless veterans in recovery and local volunteers teamed up to give 12 & 12, Inc.’s Bryce House a $17,000 face-lift on Saturday.
Bryce House, 1214 S. Baltimore Ave., is a specialized transitional living facility for homeless veterans who’ve undergone treatment for drug or alcohol addiction through 12 & 12, Inc. Veterans can live at Bryce House for up to two years as they continue rehabilitation and progress toward independence.
A Home Depot grant awarded in September allowed the 31-bed facility to repaint scuffed white walls and replace carpet that had “reached end of life,” as 12 & 12, Inc. Executive Director Bryan Day put it.
“We had to do something,” he said with a laugh.
The solution came to them when Liz Allen, general manager of the Jenks Home Depot store, called Bryce House coordinator Travis Warden looking for a worthy cause and potential grant recipient.
“He said, ‘We would love to have some painting and floors done,’ ” Allen recalled.
She submitted the grant request and received approval only a week later.
Allen, employee volunteers and Bryce House residents spent the first weekend in November painting walls. They returned Saturday, with the help of Cooper Installation Services, to install vinyl plank flooring. Shower stalls in the units will also be replaced.
“This is our way of saying thank you for their service,” Allen said.
Bryce House opened in 2006 after 12 & 12, Inc. was awarded a Department of Veterans Affairs homeless providers grant.
Day described Bryce House as “the vital link between that state of addiction and homelessness, and returning to permanent housing with recovery in place.”
For Army veteran Michael Anthony, 60, the decision to seek treatment for his addiction was a matter of life or death, he said.
When Anthony came to 12 & 12, Inc. he’d been bouncing from one place to the next without permanency, and 20 years of alcohol abuse had caught up with him.
“I was always pretty much kind of functional. I worked, I held onto a job the best I could until finally everything just kind of got out of control,” he said.
“I’ve been my own worst enemy, really.”
Anthony will finish his two years at Bryce House in February.
More than two-thirds of residents served at the facility are discharged to independent housing, according to 12 & 12, Inc. data.
“It’s been a lifesaver, really, because I think if I had continued doing what I was doing, I don’t even think I’d be here now, to tell you the truth,” Anthony said.