Local agencies partner to create veterans campus, supportive services

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 8:50 p.m. CDT
The Columbia Housing Authority, Truman Veterans Hospital and Welcome Home Inc. partnered to build a campus for veterans in Columbia. The campus, located at 2112 Business Loop 70 E., will provide 29 temporary shelter beds and other supportive services to veterans in need.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Housing Authority, Truman Veterans Hospital and Welcome Home Inc. have formed a partnership to create a campus that would provide housing and supportive services to veterans.

The 4.2-acre campus will include 25 one-bedroom apartments and 29 temporary shelter beds through Welcome Home Inc. The campus will be at 2112 Business Loop 70 E., where the Deluxe Inn is located.

The campus will also include a fitness room, computer lab, laundry facilities, walking trails, gardens and a commercial kitchen, according to a news release from the housing authority.

Veterans participating in the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program will be able to rent the apartments at a reduced price. Created in 2008 by the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, the supportive housing program provides housing assistance and supportive services to veterans. 

The rent will be subsidized by the supportive housing program and vouchers from the Columbia Housing Authority. The value of the vouchers veterans receive will depend on their income.

Housing authority CEO Phil Steinhaus said 85 percent of homeless veterans in Columbia are single persons who need a single-bedroom apartment voucher, but in a college town where apartments are often built to accommodate roommates, it can be difficult to find one-bedroom apartments.

In addition to the apartment building, Welcome Home Inc. will build its new facility on the campus. The facility will have 29 temporary shelter beds for both men and women in a separate building, according to the news release. Previously the nonprofit had nine beds only available to male veterans.

The campus will also have a supportive services center with staff from Welcome Home and the veterans hospital. For each of the 25 apartments filled, the veterans hospital will receive funding for a full-time supportive services case manager, Steinhaus said. 

Once veterans no longer need the supportive housing program or the veterans hospital, they can still receive housing assistance through the housing authority that can be used to find housing anywhere in Columbia or the rest of the country.

"Creating a campus for Veterans will build on our current partnerships to help veterans in our community," Steinhaus said. "Veterans will be able to seek housing and supportive services at Welcome Home and then transition into permanent housing with supportive services through the HUD-VASH program all at the same location."

Funding for the project is expected to come from federal, state and local sources. The project is expected to cost between $5.5 and $6 million, according to the news release.

Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2015.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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