Veterans United Home Loans donates $1.5 million to jumpstart construction of Welcome Home, Inc. homeless shelter
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Welcome Home, Inc., mid-Missouri’s only emergency homeless shelter for Veterans, broke ground on its new site today. The groundbreaking was made possible by private fundraising from multiple individuals, companies and foundations, including a $1.5 million donation from the employees of Veterans United Home Loans. The new shelter is part of Welcome Home, a Community for Veterans, and sits on the same site as the Patriot Place apartments, which opened in April.
“I’ve been looking forward to today for a long time,” said Terry Roberts, board president for Welcome Home, Inc. “We have to turn away more than 155 Veterans in need every year and now we’ll more than triple our space to meet their needs. We still have a little way to go to complete our fundraising, but thanks to the employees at Veterans United and all of our donors, we can break ground today and get the construction underway to build a shelter that will house three times as many Veterans in need and provide them the benefits and service they deserve.”
The emergency shelter is expected to cost $3.1 million and has about $300,000 yet to raise. Once completed, it will have space for at least 32 Veterans. Fundraising will continue during construction.
“This project is very personal for our employees at Veterans United” said Greg Steinhoff, president of strategic operations for Veterans United. “When we began the process of working with this community for Veterans two years ago, we knew we wanted to help as much as possible. After seeing how impactful our $1 million donation was to the Veterans who needed it, we knew we wanted to do more.
We are excited to make this donation to Welcome Home, Inc. This is our largest donation in company history and we can’t wait to see this final phase of such a unique project completed.”
The 20,000 square-foot facility, situated on two acres, will consist of 32 apartment style units that include restrooms and kitchenettes. The shelter will also include a women and family corridor capable of flexing in size based upon the gender need at any given time. The second part of the shelter will include a computer lounge, community room, commercial kitchen and laundry facilities. It will also house administrative and supportive services staffed by Welcome Home and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.
“We are committed to ending homelessness among our Veterans,” said Sara Froese, psychosocial rehabilitation program supervisor at the Truman VA. “This campus is a driving force in ensuring these American heroes have a place to call home.”
The City of Columbia contributed $500,000 towards the project.
“I am humbled by the sacrifices of our Veterans both on the battle field and at home,” Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said. “I am painfully aware some of our Veterans find themselves struggling to locate the very basics of food, clothing, shelter and supportive services. I am very proud of our community, in that we all recognize the sacrifices of our Veterans as we work together to show our sincere thanks by providing services like Welcome Home.”
Coil Construction donated $20,000 to the project and is contracted to build the shelter.
“We are excited to partner with Welcome Home for this project,” said David Coil, project manager. “This is a great chance to repurpose a part of our community to better serve our Veterans.”
Other businesses who have donated to this effort include: Dave Griggs with Flooring America, Mohawk Flooring, Kilz Tribute Paint, Orscheln Farm & Home, Heinkel Foundation, MFA, PWA Architects, AP Green Foundation and Jersey Mike’s.
The community is the first of its kind in mid-Missouri focusing solely on Veterans. The campus of the Community for Veterans is a partnership of Welcome Home, Inc., the Columbia Housing Authority and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital. The emergency shelter will be a safe haven for Veterans to stay as long as they need. Typically, each Veteran stays at Welcome Home an average of three to five months.
Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2017.
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