JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - One group who depended on Allied Veterans of the World for funding to operate is still working to help veterans in need while trying to figure out how its center will stay open.
The Allied Veterans Center, not affiliated with Allied Veterans of the World, received 98 percent of its funding from the group now the center of a federal racketeering investigation.
On Monday, just one day before he was arrested, Jerry Bass, the head of Allied Veterans of the World, came together with the group to start work on a ramp at a local veteran's home (pictured, below).
They will be able to complete the ramp and most of the work they are doing at the Allied Veterans Center. That's where they house dozens of homeless veterans, and officials say they just added two more Wednesday night.
But because they depended on Allied Veterans of the World for much of their funding, they're not sure how long they'll be able to keep going.
On Monday, workers from the Allied Veterans Center were helping Korean War veteran Daniel Liverman install a much-needed ramp at his back door. Bass was on hand for that.
"Veterans need to help veterans," he said then. "When somebody is 79 years old and has a face that looks like his looks after he fell last week, something needs to be done somewhere. So somebody just needs to pick up the slack where the slack is and get it done."
Less than 24 hours later, Bass was in jail, accused of money laundering through his company.
Because that company funds the Allied Veterans Center, Liverman wondered if the work started on his ramp would ever be completed.
"I call them first to make sure they were going to come back and finish before I called anybody else, y'all or whatever," Liverman said. "And they told me they were and that made me feel better."
Sure enough, Allied Veterans Center went back out Thursday, taking measurements of Liverman's ramp, and deciding what materials are needed to finish the job.
The center says it bill be out at Liverman's house Friday morning and expects the repairs to take about a day and a half.
At Allied Veterans Center, workers say everything is business as usual. But in just a few months that could all change if its funding from Allied Veterans of the World disappears.
In the meantime, the center will continue doing projects like the one at Liverman's house. But in about three months, most of the work done at the center housing homeless veterans could be in jeopardy.
"An ultimate option would be we'd have to shut the door and our residents, whatever number they would be on that day, would have to go back to the street," said Col. Len Loving, of the center.
The center is waiting to see how the case against its biggest funder plays out and is hoping for funding from another source.
Liverman is glad the group will keep its promise so he'll be able to get around more easily.
"I'll feel great. That way I'll be able to get in and out," he said.
Even though the center will be able to finish Liverman's house with no issues, to keep things going, officials say every employee will be taking significant pay cuts.
And even with those cuts, they'll only be able to keep operations running until the summer without additional funding.
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