Whole Man Ministries (WMM) has renovated several homes in the city for use by homeless veterans. After almost a year, their current project is nearly complete for another veteran to call home.
The house at the corner of 14th Street and Thurmond Avenue needed a lot of work. Through blood, sweat and tears, volunteers and skilled laborers have brought the home back to life and as it draws to a close, Whole Man Ministries Senior Pastor Bishop Barry Washington is eager to find its new resident.
“It feels good to me everywhere because when you see a veteran on the street or you see a veteran going through a tough time and you’re able to get them out of the cold, you see how they feel, and based on how they feel, it’s contagious and it makes you feel better,” Washington said.
“To come full circle, it’s a blessing. It’s a bit like working 24 hours a day. We started this in April (2021) and you see where it is now. We’re here almost March so it’s been almost a year so I’m thrilled.
The house was in pretty bad shape when renovations started last year. It wasn’t just cosmetic touch-ups that were needed either; instead, there was some serious work needed that only professionals could fix. “Having the house in such exceptional condition is a testament to skilled workers,” Washington said.
“When I see where it started and where it’s going now, it reminds me of someone who went through a tough time in life or a crisis and all of a sudden they’re able to overcome that crisis,” said said Washington. “This house represented that. It was really very bad and today, when you look at it, you don’t see any residue of what it was.
“The community, if we didn’t have the community to respond, we would be in bad shape. It took two churches to come together and we kind of pooled our resources and then kind of asked the community to come. Volunteers, you can’t ask for anything better than that. It really takes a village to raise a community and this one house will make a big difference in this corner here.
WMM partnered with Bishop-elect Jeffery Dowell of Bondage Breakers Outreach Ministries for this project. Over the past decade and a half, the two have occasionally teamed up for outreach projects.
“We’ve done food projects around town, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners, and we’re just working hand in hand, and we actually have a vision, which is to help the broken and to help those who don’t,” Dowell said. “These are two commitments united in one vision and the pooling of our resources to carry out these projects so that we can help those who cannot help themselves.
“We’re really adamant about the veterans because they’ve given so much for us…they’ve given so much for us. They are the reason we are free today, because of the sacrifices they have made. We just want to be a resource for them. What excites me the most about this is that I know that someone sleeping on a pew tonight is going to be in this house.
Although the house needed a lot of work inside and out, Dowell says he knew they had what it took to pull off the takeover.
“We have God on our side. We know that with man things are impossible, but with God anything is possible,” Dowell continued. “We had a heart for this project and God said, ‘If you delight in the Word, He will give you the desires of your heart,’ and it was our heart’s desire, to complete this thing and make it a top notch home.
Dowell says he was the pastor of a church with a large congregation and was never able to find “happiness and contentment” because he was not doing what God called him to do. Once he started listening to the Lord by getting out of church and helping people, he found peace.
They haven’t found the veteran who will take up residence in the newly renovated house. They will coordinate with several veterans organizations to receive applications to reduce the number to one applicant.
Washington and Dowell plan to renovate the house next door later this year to help another homeless veteran.