Group seeks funds to move homeless veterans into homes

Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 8:00 p.m. CST; updated 3:55 p.m. CST, Monday, February 2, 2009

COLUMBIA — Randall Ward has been living in Welcome Home Inc., a local veterans home, since September. Ward, who served in the Army for 12 years, said his life was "a real mess" before he came to live at the home.

Now, he has a fresh start.


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“(Welcome Home Inc.) gives us an opportunity for another chance to go look for work and education. You get to cook, clean and basically live on your own to the point that you get back on your feet and get back to society and just become part of the world again,” Ward said.

Welcome Home Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide shelter, food and social networks to Columbia’s homeless veteran population. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 33 percent of America’s homeless population served in the armed forces. According to Welcome Home Inc., one in five homeless people in Columbia is a veteran.

To help more veterans like Ward, Welcome Home Inc. is seeking donations to help veterans move out of its facilities and into their own homes.

The needs of Columbia’s homeless veterans go beyond the basics of nonperishable food and basic toiletries. Some of the largest obstacles faced by homeless veterans include transportation, employment and adequate clothing and shelter.

Because of these needs, the veterans at Welcome Home Inc. benefit from donations of bicycles, bus passes and shoes – along with donations of furniture, appliances, clothing and nonperishable food. Financial donations are also vital to the operation of the facility.

“Monetary donations always help with our administration costs," said Melissa Acton, associate director of Welcome Home Inc. "Any good-condition clothing, household items, furniture or pots and pans would be great in helping our veterans.”

Residents are constantly moving out of the Welcome Home Inc. home at 1206 Range Line St. Acton said the organization moves veterans into homes of their own. While funding is in place to achieve that goal, many of the apartments don't really seem like home.

“One of the gaps in our system is that we have the financing to get veterans into their own apartment, but they are left with an empty apartment,” Acton said. 



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Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 3:48 a.m.

Such a great program and this is also one of the aspects I like about what Stan Salee wants to help with too by offering his property to install modular homes on for this type of purpose but is still being shot down by the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission.

They claim his plans he presents are no right and alot of other things but do they offer him any help in this venture. Hell no they don't they just keep putting that brick wall before him to beat his head on.

This is one reason why we need a stronger presences of veterans in all of our government offices so our veterans get the righteous treatment and fair shake they deserve.

It is too bad there is not some government grant available through H.U.D. and the V.A. to build a 200 unit complex here in Columbia so these veterans could have a place all their own where they can call home and be there for each other as they were while still in the military because truthfully only a veteran knows how it is while the rest of us can only have a glimpse. It would be a nice project with an on site councilor and on site nurse too for their health care needs but still allowing them the independence to live independently.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 1, 2009 | 12:26 p.m.

Welcome Home's need for bicycles, pots and pans, is just the tip of an iceberg. (Of course cash donations never hurt either.)
I don't know which organizations Welcome Home partners with, however, the desire to have both in-city and Boone County dwellings, for our Veterans, seems to be a good idea.
Supporting Welcome Home Inc. is important. So too is their access to Voluntary Action Center, Salvation Army Vouchers, Clothing from the Wardrobe, Food Banks, the Furniture Bank, VA Hospital Services, Public Transportation and other Veteran support services.
I am certain that the number of service women returning from Iran with PTSS, depression, Traumatic Brain Injury, etc. is on the increase. (Not to mention physical injuries.) The same goes for our men.
With Mental Health services being cut by our government, and homelessness on the rise, I'd hate to see an increase in our Veterans and Mentally Ill being arrested because such health and housing services become inadequate.

There's also the issue of jobs for Veterans and substance abuse/anger management counseling.

Mr. Sallee's idea to house certain Veterans outside of the city limits is an appropriate vision. It is another component of this iceberg.

Veterans Trailer Park Plan
Monday, August 25, 2008
COLUMBIA — Frustrated after repeated attempts to gain rezoning approval to establish a trailer park in northern Boone County for veterans who are homeless or have disabilities, David Sallee vented a bit during a meeting with Boone County commissioners Monday morning.
The special meeting was intended to help Sallee work out a plan to rezone his property so that he could build Sallee's Post-Service Sanctuary - a 5-acre trailer park intended to help homeless and disabled veterans "decompress before reintegrating into society," Sallee said. The prospective trailer park would be located at 11251 N. Hecht Road in northern Boone County, just outside Hallsville.

But Sallee has been wrangling with Boone County officials for months on the plan. The Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission rejected his original rezoning request on June 19 because the property lacked adequate infrastructure to support the proposed zoning. Sallee appealed that decision to the county commission on July 1 but withdrew his appeal because commissioners said that, among other deficiencies, the property lacked a waterline sufficient to extinguish fires, the sewage lagoon did not meet county code and the original zoning classification on the application could allow for the property to be purchased and developed beyond what the area could support.
ray shapiro August 26, 2008
The feds gave Columbia $25 million for a bicycle program and we have Veterans in need of a roof over their heads?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz February 1, 2009 | 2:19 p.m.

Chuck, P&Z is not there to offer help to Mr. Sallee in his endeavor; they are there to ensure developments follow the county's ordinances. Can they offer suggestions on how a particular project might be better planned or developed? Absolutely, and you saw that with Commissioner Elkin guiding Mr. Sallee through the rezoning process before the county commission. And Skip is one of those veterans you say we need in government offices, Commissioner Pearson might be one as well if my memory is accurate (both voted to approve the rezoning BTW).

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 5:09 p.m.

Why didn't Skip if he is so helpful also help Sallee get with the needed architects and engineers he obviously needs to help him draw up these plans P & Z demands he have?

You know why? Because at the last Obama Community Coalition Meeting there was a person who attended who sits on P & Z that says alot of those commissioners are dead set against it.

That person claimed rather forcefully they would always vote against it no matter how it was brought to them.

That person said that they did not want Sallee running a "unlicensed nursing home" out in the county either which is not what he wants to establish.

That person also said that the area is zoned commercial and there did not want to change the zoning.

Like what is the guy to grow and raise on 5 dam acres that would make any kind of a difference?!

Somebody obviously needs to investigate the story behind this story and expose the real story involved.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 1, 2009 | 5:11 p.m.

OPPS that are in question is zone agricultural not commercial.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 1, 2009 | 6:24 p.m.

I wonder if Pat and her zoning friends would still mind if Mr. Sallee decided to make his 5 acres into a Veteran-run pumpkin patch. Any objection to the "farm-hands" living on Mr. Sallee's farm?
I'd hope that Welcome Home, the VA and the good people of Boone County and the City of Columbia would support a "pumpkin patch."
Afterall, it is zoned for agricultural use...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 2, 2009 | 3:28 a.m.

Well to myself if there are fellow veterans on the P & Z why aren't they helping their fellow veteran to get the needed services they say he requires? After all I always heard no matter what branch of service and time in that veterans always try to help their own.

Sounds like a "out side of the wire fragging" to me made to look like a accident or a accident of fate.

(Report Comment)

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