AUGUSTA — Just after Eliza Quill took a job running Maine’s only shelter for homeless veterans, she asked some of them if there was anything that they wanted.

At the top of the list, she said, was “a real flagpole” to replace a flag stick hanging on the stairs in front of the Bread of Life Ministries’ veterans shelter in Augusta. Glenn Baldwin, a Coast Guard veteran who lives there now, said keeping it that way “would be like an architect designing a house and not putting a bathroom in it.”

“How do you have a veterans shelter without a flagpole?” he asked.

But on Tuesday, that changed. Baldwin and other homeless veterans raised flags on two new flagpoles at a Veterans Day ceremony attended by Maine first lady Ann LePage and other veterans advocates. Other events in the area Tuesday included a 6-mile walk from Augusta’s Capitol Park to VA Maine Healthcare System-Togus led by Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark renovations at an American Legion hall in Litchfield.

At the homeless shelter, many of the building supplies were donated by businesses. Cash donations helped to buy the poles that now fly the American and Maine flags and others for prisoners of war, soldiers missing in action and the military’s service branches. Shelter residents, including Baldwin, helped find donors. They laid paving stones around the flagpoles’ bases.

“They’re an amazing bunch of men,” said Quill, the veterans case manager at Bread of Life, a nonprofit group that operates a soup kitchen and shelters serving the Augusta area. “That’s for sure.”

The group’s 12-bed veterans’ shelter, which is in its fourth year, is Maine’s only veteran-specific shelter. It’s paid for through a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which selects the homeless veterans who live at the shelter.

Reducing homelessness among veterans has been a priority of the federal government. From 2010 to 2014, veteran homelessness was reduced nearly 33 percent, according to the VA. It said it spent $6.8 billion in the 2014 budget year on health care and specialized services for homeless veterans. Still, there were nearly 50,000 homeless veterans nationwide e in early 2014, according to federal data.

The Augusta shelter is a stop-over for homeless veterans, who typically stay for three months while receiving case management and looking for jobs.

“Our job is to get them stabilized and ready to move into that environment,” said Ron Welsh, director of operations at Bread of Life, adding that more than 100 veterans have passed through the shelter.

Baldwin, a Portland native, got out of the Coast Guard in the 1970s. He said his fortunes changed when he was fired from his job in 2006 after an injury.

“There was a spell when I had 42 cents to my name and I didn’t see another living soul for 60 days,” he said. “Didn’t speak to anybody, didn’t email, didn’t text, didn’t have a phone.”

Baldwin headed up the effort to put up the flagpoles by recruiting donors and putting in labor. But he said most residents have more pressing needs such as transportation between Togus and potential jobs.

His next project? Getting a van that can shuttle the shelter’s veterans around the area.

“Some people self-medicate with alcohol. Some people self-medicate with drugs,” Baldwin said. “I self-medicate with projects.”