More Help Available For Homeless Veterans In The Poconos

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STROUDSBURG -- Homeless veterans now have a place to go in Monroe County to get help.

On Monday, a New Jersey-based organization that helps homeless vets moved into their first outreach office in Pennsylvania.

The organization is called Operation Chillout.

It opened its first office in the state because organizers say it's needed most in Monroe County.

Michael Devilliers will soon be a familiar face to some homeless veterans in Monroe County. He's part of Operation Chillout that helps homeless veterans and civilians.

"We go out and find homeless veterans. We connect them to services," Devilliers said.

Some of those services include counseling and medical referrals for treatment.

The organization started in 2000 in New Jersey and opened its first office at the Monroe County Homeless Initiative Day Center in downtown Stroudsburg.

"Really glad," said Howard Schoch of Reeders. "They're helping a lot of people."

Schoch isn't a veteran but was homeless last winter when he met Michael Devilliers. At that time, Schoch says he was sleeping in his car in a parking lot.

"These guys come around and help us out with backpacks, winter clothes, sweatshirts, clothes, coats."

The reason Operation Chillout got its name is because the group takes the chill out for the homeless by giving them winter survival supplies.

"Just enough to keep your body going and semi-warm," Schoch said.

Right now, Operation Chillout is handing out summer survival supplies from their outreach vehicle. When they come across a homeless veteran or homeless civilian, they'll give them things like bottled water, sunblock, bug spray and clothing.

"Anything to make the elements a little bit … easier to handle," Devilliers said.

The office for Operation Chillout will have regular hours starting in September. It is available to homeless veterans in Scranton area as well.

Until then, help is always available at the Monroe County Homeless Initiative Day Center in downtown Stroudsburg.