Two New Facilities for Veterans
A new rehabilitation facility for veterans opens its doors... and a state residence that will house homeless vets in the very near future, breaks ground today.
Both are located at the Wainwright Memorial VA Center in Walla Walla.
The newly completed residential re-hab unit will house 36 veterans at a time, and comes at a critical time.
Administrators say they have been working for several years to get the rehab project finished, and they now have a new challenge to meet.
The rehab unit will fight substance abuse among vets, both male and female, but when combined with post traumatic stress disorder, can often lead to soldier suicides.
"There's an estimated 22 vets a day committing suicide," said Ron Goodall, a Vietnam era veteran.
The $20 million building is part of the Rehab Treatment Program, which originally began in 1972.
The state of the art building has private rooms with bathrooms, an outdoor patio, TV room, dining area, along with the traditional drug programs with therapy.
Officials say the whole set-up is geared towards making vets feel comfortable and secure.
In 2012 the program helped 294 Washington veterans.
Goodall says he's cautiously hopeful, but stresses there's never enough beds for the sheer numbers of vets needing help.
"If they get rid of the red tape, and get the veterans in there that need their help, that would be great. But that's quite a waiting list to get in here, so only thing I can say is they need to cut down that waiting list. And hopefully build more facilities like this one in the future.
State Senator Mike Hewitt (R) 16th District said, he supports the build because there aren't many like it in Washington. "Well, the closest one is in Spokane and so, you know, we're going to be serving a large region here."
Ground was also broken today just a short distance away for a brand new 80-bed housing facility for homeless vets.
There are at least eight homes planned, each with several bedrooms and attached bathrooms. These facilities will be reserved for not only veterans, but their spouses and children, and even parents of veterans, should they need it.
Construction is slated to start late this year, with expected completion around early 2015.
The project will cost approximately $32 million, with 35% funded by the state and 65% by the federal governments.