Homelessness among veterans is a national problem. One housing project is designed to help address that issue in Jonesboro and the region. KASU’s Johnathan Reaves explains:
In a little over two years, homeless veterans can be placed in transitional housing called Veterans Village. Nine homes will be built for qualifying veterans. Those placed will receive basic necessities and services to help get them back on their feet. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the facilities will be provided through a one million dollar grant from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
“This housing program is vital to assist in this special population,” says Perrin. “Veterans have earned the right to live without the fear of homelessness and this program paves the way to help them when they need it most.”
Arkansas Adjutant General Major General Mark Berry says there are 250-thousand veterans in Arkansas. He says one of the challenges veterans face is trying to access the services they need, or even knowing where to find those services.
“They don’t get the resources that they deserve, but it is projects like this that will take care of a lot of great Americans.”
The Beck PRIDE Center at Arkansas State University provides services to veterans in the community and will run the Veterans Village. Those include helping veterans fill out forms for benefits, a support group, and students providing services. Director of the Beck PRIDE Center is Lynda Nash.
“We utilize students who are working on their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in several areas, such as social work, counseling, physical therapy, speech, and occupational therapy,” says Nash.
The award from the Arkansas Department Finance Authority marks the first National Housing Trust fund grant issued in Arkansas. Veterans Village is expected to be placed on Aggie Road near Arkansas State University. A groundbreaking is to take place this summer and the project must be completed in 18 months.