Newport This Week: 'Haunts for Homeless' Changed His Life

By James Merolla

Haunts for the Homeless Director Jef Benson presents the charity's first donation check to WARM Center homeless shelter's Executive Director Russ Partridge.Jef Benson was once a homeless addict who lost everything. He lived in a van in a used car lot, and in a shed behind a friend's house in the middle of winter.

“I lost my marriage, my home, my belongings, dignity, and self-respect,” he said. “I lost friends and even family members. Then, in 2006, I got clean. I was in Pennsylvania in 2010 and was hired in Rhode Island to help design a haunt. I ended up staying here and we started 'Haunts for the Homeless.'”

Haunts for the Homeless comes to Fort Adams State Park in the 14th annual Fortress of Nightmares later month with the new “Spirits Rising” haunt, which is currently under construction. The build comes via Mohegan Sun casino, where Benson works in the sports and entertainment division.

“Fort Adams and [creative director] Dave Prata welcomed us with open arms,” he said. “They already have an established attraction, Fortress of Nightmares, and we will be adding our haunt to that. They have been so helpful in the setup and building of the haunt, adding us to their marketing, etc. I'm really looking forward to us helping each other. Our haunt brings a new addition to what they have, while they are more than helping us by giving Spirits Rising a home and a chance to help those in need.”

To view the complete article, visit Newport This Week

Courtesy of Newport This Week

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