Jubilee House director answers critics

February 28, 2012 5:01:26 PM PST
The Jubilee House in Fayetteville may be better known as the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" house, after it was rebuilt last year on the ABC television program. Now, Barbara Marshall, the director of the safe haven for homeless female veterans, is under fire. She's accused by some of not living up to her mission.

Marshall spoke to ABC11 Monday. She wanted everyone to know that she runs a transition home designed to help female vets get on their feet and move on. Marshall said she gets no tax dollars or funding from the city, county or the Veterans Administration to run the place. Marshall said allegations of misuse of funds and the mistreatment of veterans aren't true.

Marshall said her dream is now turning into a nightmare. She said it's hard to pay the $1,000 a month electric bill and it's a challenge helping veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and recurring drug problems.

"Our agency currently does not have the kind of clinical support that it would take to provide one-on-one, 24 hour support for women with mental health challenges," said Marshall.

There are allegations in the Fayetteville Observer that Marshall and her son are the only ones living in the house. Marshall said that's not true. Right now, she said there are two female vets --- one with a child -- living in the home.

Several women said they were kicked out. Marshall said it's because they violated rules.

Dasia Handy was homeless. She stayed at Jubilee House with her 18-month old son until she gave birth to another child in November.

"Nobody told me until I got into the hospital that I couldn't... that I was unable to come back to the house at all with my new born. It wasn't equipped for me," said Handy.

However, Marshall said Handy knew she would have to leave after she had the baby. The home's insurance policy doesn't cover infants living in the home.

Marshall said she helped Handy get a voucher from the VA to move into her new home.

"And they helped to deliver furniture to set that house up," said Marshall. "So, that by the time that baby was delivered, he had his own home, his own baby room and even his own baby crib."

"She has been more than fair," said a woman named Barbara, who moved from Jubilee House to an extended stay shelter that Marshall also operates. "She makes you get up and go forward find a job, whatever. Resources are there. She gives them to you. She does not allow you to lay around and do nothing all day, that defeats that purpose."

Marshall said the past eight months have been a learning experience for her. However, through it all, she said she never gave up on her vision, her dream for Jubilee House.

"I think the public should be concerned that this is a house that not only houses women veterans, but that we serve as a resource center for women veterans," said Marshall.

Marshall said the Extreme Makeover home is six times larger than the house that used to sit on the property and it comes with six times the challenges to make it work.

Marshall said if she's guilty of anything it's having a heart bigger than her pocketbook.

ABC is the parent company of ABC11.

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