'Extreme Makeover' home under scrutiny from homeless advocates
Posted February 27, 2012
Updated February 28, 2012
Fayetteville, N.C. — A Fayetteville home transformed by "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" last year into a place to house homeless female veterans has come under scrutiny from homeless advocates after reports of women being turned away.
Advocates said the Jubilee House on Langdon Street has sat empty on cold winter nights when the Salvation Army shelter in Fayetteville is full.
"We just said, 'What a shame it is that here is this empty, and we're out of space and people are freezing," Salvation Army's Jackie Godbold said.
Jubilee House owner Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy veteran, said she has two women and a child staying at the home.
When asked why she was turning people away, Marshall said, "Some women veterans come in with substance abuse issues and are in need of recovery support. Some of the women come in from domestic violence situations, and they need a lot more protection than you can provide at a shelter that has minimal security."
"I talked to one female veteran here, and she told me that she had had some PTSD in the military and had been dishonorably discharged and had some mental health issues, and she talked to Ms. Marshall and Marshall said she would have a place for her, but when she got out of the hospital from treatment a few days later, Marshall told her she couldn’t stay there," Godbold said.
Marshall said all of the attention the house received on television might have led many people to set their expectations too high. Marshall cited health problems, saying she is disabled and left the military after suffering a stroke. She said she has major migraine headaches, hypertension and was recently diagnosed with diabetes.
"I think, when you look at me and to expect the impossible from one person. No," Marshall said.
Marshall said she is getting no money from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the government. She said that, once she gets more help and resources, she hopefully can care for homeless veterans with drug, alcohol or mental health issues.
"I have never met her, but there is a big meeting for homeless veterans, and I’ve never seen her at any of those meetings, so I don’t know," Godbold said. "I hope that this is just a woman who’s been overwhelmed and she turns it around and does the right thing for the community...but we’ll have to see."
Although the show aired last year, people still show up delivering donations to the home.
Mary Sheperd brought clothing to the house this week with the hope it would go to homeless veterans.
"Right now, she needs support from all of us. She’s happy to get whatever you bring. She needs volunteers. She needs some people that are professional mentors, I guess, who can help these women, who can be there for them," Sheperd said.
Marshall said she stores donations in her basement and offers them to female veterans who come to the shelter, even if they aren't able to stay there.