Who We Are

Homebase was founded following my own experience coping as a lone soldier, in the military and after my service as well.

I am grateful and appreciative of the help I received throughout my life and feel that now it is my turn to give something back, and support all those recently discharged lone soldiers who are now facing what I have once faced.

In 2018, after having devoted many years to other social causes, I decided that I wanted to establish a home for lone soldiers. When I asked myself what happens to these lone soldiers once they finish their military service, I realized there was no satisfactory response, so I decided to focus on establishing a home for soldiers who have finished their military service but were still “lone”. Homebase’s activities focus on giving a loving and supportive home, that helps discharged soldiers who are not surrounded by a loving and supportive family, make the transition into civilian life.

Orna Shimshoni

Background

Every year 3500 lone soldiers finish their military service. The difficulty in the transition from military to civilian life, is even more pronounced for these soldiers, who find themselves feeling completely alone, without any sense of belonging, without the financial and emotional support of a loving family, without a roof over their heads and without a job. Half of the soldiers who were lone soldiers, are young men and women who came to Israel with a sense of mission and out of sheer Zionism, who wanted to serve in the army; and half of them are Israelis, who were recognized by the military as lone soldiers due to their socio-economic background and difficulties, because their family and religious/ultraorthodox community have turned their backs to them because they chose to serve in the military.

There are several programs in Israel offering support to lone soldiers throughout their service, including programs providing housing outside military bases. And after they finish their military service they receive help from The Ministry of Defense’s Foundation and Unit for Discharged Soldiers, and different NGOs provide assistance in different areas: vocational guidance, tuition assistance/subsidies and consulting services in various areas.

But the response given to the most basic need – a roof over their heads (preferably one that would give them a sense of stability, belonging, family and a connection to the community) is very partial and insufficient. Without the confidence and domestic stability that a home awards, many of those lone soldiers face severe loneliness, that even drives some of them to leave Israel.

Homebase's Solution

Even the strongest combat soldiers, including those who were commanders, find the transition and adaptation to civilian life in Israel to be challenging.

Homebase has two goals:

Providing a home, a roof over their heads, a supportive and a warm, family-like environment, that will enhance these young men and women’s sense of belonging, as they experience and overcome these common challenges together. This is achieved through shared social activities, Friday night dinners, etc.

Helping these young men and women by equipping them with a “toolbox”, that will help their acclimatization into civilian life, so that they will be ready for it when they leave Homebase. The toolbox includes financial behavior, legal aid, exploring their academic options and of course assistance and guidance in finding a job. All this is achieved through collaboration with other NGOs.

Our main mission at Homebase is to give these young men and women a sense of confidence and belonging, which they so critically need. And part of that confidence is having a home to return to, and just as importantly, practical tools, that will help them in their lives as independent individuals who contribute to society.

We want them to feel at home – and for those of them who have made Aliyah – to make them want to stay in Israel.