John Chenevert is a 62-year-old U.S. Army veteran who works hard every day at his minimum wage job in Apalachicola.
Unfortunately, he can’t find an affordable place to live.
Tom Bentley, case manager for the Big Bend Homeless Coalition, said nothing has panned out yet for Chenevert, who is living in a vacant structure near Two-Mile, without a shower or bath.
“We are just pounding the pavement trying to work out details,” said Bentley. “We’ve looked at a dozen different places. We’ve been told all of those are for vacation, short-term rentals. They don’t have any current vacancies.”
As a veteran. Chenevert qualifies for housing assistance that could help him with first month rent and security deposit, as well as utilities. Bentley said that through a grant from the Veterans Administration, he can provide support services for veterans and their families.
“In general we can work with any military, anything higher than a dishonorable discharge,” he said. “We also look at income, and for those vets who are bout to lose housing or about to experience homelessness.”
Bentley said that such opportunities could likely be located for Chenevert in Tallahassee. “We would have lots of places for him there but that’s not what he wants to do,” he said. “He has ties here and wants to stay here.”
Chenevert works doing maintenance at the Van Johnson Municipal Complex, sweeping floors, cleaning bathrooms and handling other tasks at the former Apalachicola High School. He has been employed there since March for minimum wage, 25 hours a week, under a program funded by the National Caucus & Center on Black Aging, Inc., which works to employ low-income people.
If you know of possible housing opportunities, please contact Bentley at 850-556-9852.