Jake Leone began working with veterans returning from combat in 2005. When Jake returned from Iraq in 2004, he struggled throughout his transition with aggression, legal and financial issues. Luckily, he had the support of his mother and his faith to help him get his life back on track. It was then that Jake decided to commit himself to helping other young soldiers returning from combat that were facing the same issues as he once did.
In the beginning, he helped soldiers within the walls of his own home. He was making a difference, but he always envisioned a building and an organization where he would be able to provide the same assistance and support to multiple veterans at a time.
In 2013, that dream began to become a reality. With the support of residents and businesses in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, Vets for Vets (VFV) was born. Later that year, VFV became incorporated and the organization acquired the old Pennsburg post office building on 4th Street. When VFV started to renovate the building, it didn’t take long for members of the community to rally and assist with the renovation. Before the doors were even open for service, there were veterans knocking on the door for help! Many of these early veterans helped to renovate the building in exchange for a roof over their head.
During 2014 and 2015, Jake gathered a group of local veterans and community leaders to help in the development of the VFV program. Once the blueprint was established and the program’s protocol built, VFV began to expand to serve a wider range of veterans.
In 2016, VFV opened the female veteran wing and the first female was admitted.
In 2017, VFV is poised to open the small veteran family wing which will house a veteran and his/her immediate family.
To date, VFV’s program has served approximately 23 veterans in the VFV house, as well as hundreds throughout the community with the outreach program and onsite Veterans Affairs services. Currently, VFV’s success rate is approximately 85% in assisting our veterans with education enrollment, job placement and stable housing upon graduating our program.
VFV’s goal is to expand the organization into a larger facility. VFV is also considering the possibility of assisting neighboring communities to spearhead a similar business model.
VFV’s mission is to support returning veterans during their readjustment from military to civilian life. VFV’s goal is to provide safe and positive transitional housing providing a mixture of camaraderie, life skills, as well as educational and employment opportunities.
In-house and outsourced services include, but are not limited to the following:
- Full service living quarters
- Outsourced PTSD/Substance abuse treatment programs
- Finance and credit counseling
- Education/vocational counseling
- Resume building and job prospecting
VFV supports veterans during this challenging transition by helping to identify and recognize their valuable military skill set, and assists them in translating those skills into applicable civilian-life skills. In addition, VFV’s veterans stand committed to providing needed assistance to the elder veterans and families in their communities.