The Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard honored its founder Monday with something the late veteran Sidney Singer would have never done for himself.
In a formal ceremony the day after Veterans Day, a crowd of about thirty veterans, family members and friends watched as Veterans Place Executive Director Jared Souder christened the facility's primary building the "Sidney W. Singer Veterans Service Center".
Souder said the designation was overdue after Singer's passing in January 2010.
"Everybody wanted to name this building after him a long time before he ever passed, and he never, ever, ever would even think of it. That wasn't in the cards for him. That's not the type of person he was: never about personal accolades, always about the veterans," said Souder. "Finally, after he passed, then he couldn't fight us anymore about it."
Souder said Veterans Place got its start nearly twenty years ago, when Singer and some fellow members of the Jewish War Veterans Post 718 of Monroeville decided to tackle the growing problem of homeless veterans.
After purchasing the Washington Boulevard site from the city of Pittsburgh for just one dollar in 1998, Singer and company renovated the buildings to be fit for housing veterans with no place else to go. In 2004, Veterans Place opened 48 housing units in Larimer.
"We've housed hundreds and hundreds of veterans since then," said Souder.
Souder said the newly-dedicated Singer Veterans Service Center will continue to house the Veterans Place day program, which is an open weekday service for all veterans.
"That includes meals, employment assistance, clothing, laundry, showers, medications, and all sorts of referrals designed to move them from the point they're in in their life, where they're struggling to even provide housing for themselves, to the point where they can go through treatment."
Souder called Monday's ceremony a "fitting tribute" for a man whose vision has changed the lives of thousands of veterans in the Pittsburgh area.