Fayetteville's Jubilee House for homeless women veterans empty and dark, but director hopes not for long

Saturday, June 6, 2015
House for homeless female veterans closed for now
There are new problems at a Fayetteville home that's made so many headlines over the years.

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The Steps and Stages Jubilee House women veterans homeless shelter in Fayetteville is now closed.

The city has shut off the power and water over an unpaid $3,500 utility bill.

Jubilee House Director Barbara Marshall along with seven female veterans and five children were forced to move out. For now, Marshall said the veterans and children are living elsewhere. However, she hopes the shutdown is only temporary.

"More than ever, we need the community to come together," said Marshall. "In fact, in the coming week, we would like to have members of the community to come and sit around the table, and meet some of the women, hear their stories, learn about their lives."

Swannie Robinson, who lives across the street from the Jubilee House, said Marshall asked her to keep an eye on the empty house.

"She said she couldn't take it no more -- did all she could -- and that this is all she can do," said Robinson, who has lived across the street from Jubilee House since it was built five years ago, said she has seen this day coming. "I had helped her out with food and clothes, and little items, whatever they needed, a little bit of money sometimes if I had it."

In 2011, ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition recruited hundreds of volunteers to help build a new 7,000 square foot home on Langdon Street for Marshall. First lady Michelle Obama helped dedicate the Jubilee House to homeless women veterans.

Since then, Marshall said she has helped nearly 300 women veterans, but admits keeping Jubilee House open has been a struggle. She's been accused to mismanaging money, and turning away some veterans. She's even been investigated by the state.

This past March, the home went dark after the power was cut off over an unpaid $5,000 utility bill. Donations then helped Marshall get the lights turned back on.

Now, Marshall said she is out of money and believes her financial problems reveal a larger community issue.

"To many residents in our community, these women are yet invisible. Many people are surprised that there are homeless women veterans," said Robinson.

Marshall said she will continue working to help homeless women veterans.

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