PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Every year at this time we celebrate and show respect for our veterans and every year at this time we are reminded that as a country we don’t always support them the way that we should. So this year at this time, Furnishing a Future is trying to support veterans and ex-offenders while also serving the homeless.
"What the program does is it teaches people who were formerly homeless, who are veterans or are returning citizens a skill, a craft that will allow them to make more than minimum wage by a substantial amount,” founder Steven Greenberg told FOX 29.
Greenberg teaches the art of making furniture to those who need a marketable skill. As they learn to make furniture it is then donated to homeless people trying to transition into housing but often with no furniture.
“They say a lot of people bring in garbage bags with clothes filled in the garbage bags and that becomes their dresser on the floor and it doesn’t feel like a home," Steven said. "So a dresser and a dining room table make it feel like a home and if people feel like it’s a home they’re probably more likely to stay there.”
They train veterans, returning citizens and the homeless. It seems like a lot but it's actually pretty simple they found a need and filled it.
“I have a daughter who worked in New York for a number of years working with returning citizens and what she told me is the biggest problem they have is that they just don’t have skills, " he explained. "If you don’t have skills you’re not going to make a wage above minimum wage. And she got to me.”
The program is also breaking stereotypes for some who believe that struggling is just about being lazy or wanting an easy way out.
“The very first day of the SEPTA strike I got an email from a sponsoring agent for this program saying don’t expect them to come they’re probably gonna be walking over 5 miles. They were here before me and they’ve been here every day," Steven explained.
Jeremiah is one of the people in the program who says its changing his life.
“This program means everything to me its actually a way for me to get an apartment and eat more than noodles every night. So you definitely need something you can make more than minimum wage with," he explained.
Although he didn’t identify himself as a veteran, the program helping veterans was clearly important to him.
“Make a sacrifice for them because of course everybody should know they made a sacrifice for this country and everything you do you’re allowed to do it because a veteran went out and made a sacrifice for you," Jeremiah said.
Honestly with the training that these men are receiving they could make furniture for anyone and probably make more of an immediate profit. But that’s not what furnishing a future is about, they need the skills and want to make money but the first step is recognize that the program is helping them so they have a responsibility to help someone else….ForGoodnessSake