Southern Appalachian Labor School Providing Homes for Veterans

Fahe Member Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) is based out of Oak Hill, WV and serves the counties of Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Raleigh, and Nicholas.  SALS works to provide education, research, and linkages for the working class and disenfranchised peoples in order to promote understanding, empowerment and change.

SALS has recently been recognized in the Register Herald newspaper for their efforts to provide housing for local homeless veterans.   SALS immediate service area has an estimated 3,000 homeless former service members who remain largely out of the public eye.  Many of these individuals are in their 50s and 60s and come from an era where their service was met with scorn after they returned from war, so many of them are afraid to seek out help and many possibly suffer from undiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

SALS plans to convert the third floor of the former Oak Hill Elementary School into 16 efficiency apartments which serve the homeless veterans in Raleigh and Fayette counties.  Residents of these apartments will have opportunities to become active in the community through any of the various workshops and public events hosted at the school.  There is also discussion about the residents utilizing the community space for group meetings to discuss issues affecting the veterans such as substance and alcohol abuse.

Veterans suffering from homelessness or inadequate housing is unfortunately not an isolated issue being faced in Appalachia.  SALS’s work to provide housing for these overlooked veterans is a great step in solving the problem.  Stable, safe housing is transformative for people who have gone without and is vitally important for these veterans to have the opportunity for a healthy and productive life.

To learn more about SALS and their work with housing veterans, you can visit their website at www.sals.info.