Sometimes our military veterans don’t have the resources they need, and sometimes a community rallies together to make sure our veterans are cared for, even in the most dire of circumstances. That’s what is happening in Columbia, MO, where an estimated 800 homeless veterans live and the current veterans-only shelter only has 10 beds.
Veterans United Home Loans, Columbia Housing Authority, Harry S. Truman Memorial Veteran Hospital and Welcome Home, Inc. decided to do something about this situation. They worked together to form the “Welcome Home, A Community for Veterans” project, which will fund and build an apartment complex and shelter for local homeless veterans in Columbia, MO. The project will cost nearly $8 million to complete.
The venture kicked off recently with a $1 million donation from Veterans United Home Loans, but organizers say they still need to raise roughly $3 million to finish the complex and shelter.
The completed facility will include 25 one-bedroom apartments, a 29-bed shelter, offer on-site services to help veterans transition out of homelessness, and be exclusively for homeless veterans. Organizers and community leaders anticipate that the building will also provide safe housing for homeless veterans with families and homeless female veterans.
Construction will begin in spring 2015. While the apartments and shelter cannot house all of Columbia’s homeless veterans, community leaders applaud the development as a much-needed step in the right direction. A representative with the local VA hospital also commended the community’s efforts to end veteran homelessness in the area.
Unfortunately there’s a lot of different reasons that make our veterans homeless. We have people who have mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and it’s difficult for them to transition back into civilian life. [The] VA has always been there to help with those things, but it’s difficult to receive care when you have no place to live and you’re living on the street. – Sarah Froese, Truman VA Hospital representative