To the editor of THE EAGLE:

I’m a homeless veteran and spent a year at Pittsfield Soldier On. While I was living at Soldier On I discovered the Peal Street Community Center and submitted my name as a volunteer. I marched in the Memorial Day parade and was overwhelmed by the support of the community toward us veterans, so I wanted opportunities to give back.

Shortly after volunteering there began a series of trainings offered to become an advocate for Co-Act, helping people in need. I also discovered that Co-Act and the Salvation Army opened a nightly cot shelter in Pittsfield last winter for the homeless to get in out of the extremely cold nights. The shelter exceeded everyone’s expectations. It was opened 130 nights and had more than 1,869 people spend the night over that period of time. These are people who could have gotten frostbite those nights. I have seen the pain and the expense for the taxpayers of frostbite victims. Many end up on disability and have painful consequences for life. Currently this year’s cot shelter is on hold due to lack of funding.

The city block grant, which in many cities portions money out to shelters, awarded nothing toward this year’s shelter. It appears that the committee that decides how to allocate the money didn’t see a need for the homeless this winter. It’s getting cold out there and the homeless will have nowhere to go this winter unless funds are received.