On any given night across this country, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that about 40,000 veterans are on the street because they’re homeless. This holiday season, Celeste Ellich is working to try and lower that statistic by at least one.
Ellich, a Wilton Manors resident and U.S. Navy veteran, is raising money to help Navy veteran Delroy Hamilton buy a car.
She said she was “excited and overwhelmed” about helping Hamilton. “It’s good to do something for somebody that needs help. Christmas shouldn’t just be about toys. He wasn’t asking for much, but I’m glad we can help him.”
So far, she’s collected a couple hundred dollars from individuals in the Broward Log Cabin Republican Club and others to be used to help Hamilton buy the car. Log Cabin members have also pledged to help other veterans and their families during the holidays.
Hamilton, a single father of three children ages 4, 3, and 1, separated from his wife. The children have been living with family members but Hamilton said he’s living on the streets of Fort Lauderdale; his wife has been at U.S. Army boot camp for the last two months. He said he supports her goal because it’s a way to better herself and their children in the long-term.
In the short-term though, support has come sporadically – gift cards for groceries and
a 45-day hotel voucher from Operation Sacred Trust, an organization based in Hollywood that helps homeless veterans. Long-term help has arrived in the form of being recently-hired as an electrician. “I’m just waiting on the hiring start date. Once we get the ball rolling [and I catch up on some past debt] . . . I’ll be able to support myself and my kids.”
But despite all the setbacks he’s had to face, Hamilton said he’s grateful and thankful for what he’s received and says others in similar situations shouldn’t lose hope. “I had no choice but to humble myself . . . Just continue to do what you’re doing you’ll continue to receive your blessing,” he said.