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Volunteers work to renovate a cottage for female veterans on the historic state hospital campus in Anoka in June 2018. The cottages are now managed by Haven for Heroes.

An anonymous donor has promised to match up to $375,000 in donations to Haven for Heroes in Anoka.

Founded in December 2018, Haven for Heroes is a nonprofit lodging facility that provides recovery and transitional housing to military service members and veterans.

The organization manages three cottages and an auditorium on the historic state hospital property in Anoka. The spaces were previously being managed and renovated by Sauk Centre-based Eagles Healing Nest.

“The Anoka community has preserved, restored and provided these historical cottages and auditorium for the purpose of helping veterans,” Haven for Heroes board member Bart Ward said. “This is a grateful community filled with those who have served, past and present, and civilians who are appreciative, thankful and eager to give back to our heroes.”

Haven for Heroes is open for both male and female veterans and their families who are in need of assistance for a variety of reasons.

Study has shown veterans are more likely to become homeless than other Americans, and according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, “a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.”

The network adds that military occupations and training aren’t always transferable to the civilian workforce. It says “a top priority for homeless veterans is secure, safe, clean housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.”

“That is exactly what the Haven provides,” according to State Sen. Jim Abeler, another Haven board member who was instrumental in saving the state hospital property for veterans housing.

After the donation match was announced, the Ramsey Lions were the first to contribute $10,000 toward the campaign.

Donations of any amount are welcome and can be mailed directly to Haven for Heroes or made online via PayPal or via the city of Anoka.

“The prevalence of veterans having diagnoses of mental health concerns such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, along with serious substance abuse, means diligence is necessary,” Abeler said. “There are veterans in surrounding communities also struggling, and opening the in-house programs to them will provide a beacon of light in the community for help and hope.”

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