SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – At the corner of North Dean and Saint John Street in Spartanburg you’ll find a big brick house with a bright yellow door.
“We are in a 4000 square foot home that is dedicated for the purpose of housing homeless veterans who are transitioning from homelessness to wellness,” said Chris Pfohl, explaining ‘Warriors Once Again.’
Pfohl serves as the Executive Director for the non-profit.
Pfohl said the house sat empty for years before the non-profit made it their home in March of 2021.
“The owners bought it for the purpose of tearing it down and building another structure,” Pfohl began to explain. “That didn’t work out… About that same time is when they became aware of the veteran population within the homeless community.”
And thus, Warriors Once Again was born.
After nearly three years, Pfohl said the non-profit has successfully helped 19 veterans get back on their feet.
“It’s not a homeless shelter, per se, it’s a transitional residence,” he added. “We wanted it to feel as much like home as it could be..”
To get help from Warriors Once Again, applicants must go through a screening process.
“There’s really no one-size-fits-all solution,” Pfohl told 7 NEWS. “Because the issues that keep you vulnerable to homelessness or have contributed to homelessness may be different from the person next to you or the other person’s.”
Pfohl said they are not able to take in veterans experiencing active addiction.
“However, we don’t like leaving them behind and we try to steer them to the proper resources,” said Pfohl.
After the screening, the next steps include an interview
“And then we begin to populate services based on the needs of that individual,” he explained.
Pfohl said the non-profit has learned that sometimes a veteran just needs permission to relax.
“We’ve actually had a couple of veterans who we wouldn’t let go to work,” Pfohl explained. “We are funded to be able to care for them top to bottom, as soon as they walk in the door. We can pay for services they need, we can pay for food, we can pay for clothing, obviously, they’re in a room with a bed, and they have all that stuff available to them.”
Which Pfohl said has proved to be a successful approach.
“Even though the model is up to two years transitional, our average time of turning a guy around is nine to 13 months,” Pfohl said. “And we generally put them back out no longer at risk of homelessness.”
Pfohl said he wishes the non-profit could help everybody.
“But you know, the veteran population, certainly because at one time they signed on the dotted line for the government, here’s a blank check to do with me whatever you want for at least the next four years,” Pfohl said. “And that was a lot of stuff that we weren’t prepared for.”
And as a Marine veteran himself, Pfohl said it feels great to give back.
“There’s a brotherhood among veterans. It’s intrinsic,” Pfohl said. “You can feel it when you’re around them when you talk to them, even though you might not have anything else in common. And, and that comes into play here in the community we have in our house.”
Chris Pfohl, Thank You for Your Service.
To learn more about Warriors Once Again, click here.