U.S.VETS—one of the country’s largest service providers to American veterans—will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Friday, May 25 with a special celebration of service and dedication. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA District 43), Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., and Stephen J. Peck (President/CEO, U.S.VETS) will join in celebrating the facility, its residents and the neighborhood. The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. at 733 S. Hindry Ave. Inglewood.

U.S.VETS – Inglewood is the inaugural U.S.VETS site which opened in 1993 with only five clients. Today, the location operates more than 600 beds of transitional and permanent housing. Employment services are provided through a workforce program that helps more than 100 veterans return to employment each year.

Additionally, more than 200 veteran family households are provided rapid re-housing and homeless prevention services.

U.S.VETS personnel go into the local community to find homeless veterans and guide them to crucial services that might help alleviate the challenges they face as a result of their homelessness.

Executive Director Akilah Templeton is one of the country’s few female executive directors of a veteran’s residential and service facility. Templeton, a native of Inglewood, has deep roots embedded within the community.

Coming from a family with a legacy of giving back to the Inglewood community, Templeton was taught the importance of community service from an early age. Her grandmother instilled in her the value of supporting local community politics and voting, and her grandfather owned one of the first neighborhood family restaurant chains which provided work and service to the community.

As such, when she was offered the job of executive director of U.S.VETS in 2017, she jumped at the opportunity to return back to her original community.

“We are excited about the opportunity to celebrate 25 years of service to our nation’s heroes. The achievement suggests that our work continues to be necessary,” said Templeton. “This is both a triumph and a commentary on how far we still have to go as a society in making sure that our veterans are taken care of.”

The range of services that U.S. VETS provides includes housing and employment assistance, as well as access to veterans benefits and treatment for mental and physical health problems and substance abuse.

Veterans who visit U.S.VETS represent a variety of needs as diverse as the veterans themselves. Some seek employment assistance. Some require mental health treatment to help them fully reintegrate into civilian society. Some need help finding affordable housing options for themselves or their families. These issues are just a few of those addressed by U.S.VETS with a wide spectrum of supportive programs.

“This year, I hope to involve the community in more of our events in order to raise awareness but also to get more hands-on deck,” said Templeton.

Contributions make it possible for U.S.VETS to offer essential services to these individuals. As troops return home, U.S.VETS strives to be a leader in innovative programs that empower the evolving veteran population with the tools they need to become self sufficient.

To make a donation or to get more information about U.S. VETS, visit the organization website at www.usvetsinc.org.