The Butner facility will provide vital services to state's homeless veterans
Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory announced one of the largest federal community development block grants in the state's history today, a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a facility for homeless veterans.
An unused state building in Butner will be transformed into the Veterans Life Center, a facility where homeless veterans will find the services they need to become independent once again. The building will provide clean, safe housing, as well as access to life-affirming services such as vocational education and mentoring.
"Perhaps the greatest way we can honor our military men and women who died in combat is by recognizing the men and women who fought right beside them," said Governor McCrory. "That's exactly what this facility will do. It will take care of those combat veterans who have sacrificed so much for so many of us."
The center will offer health and wellness services such as counseling for substance abuse and mental health and nutrition services, as well as professional counseling services and life skills development.
The goal of the program is to achieve self-reliance for up to 150 veterans in two years or less. The project will benefit homeless veterans from all areas of the state.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded these funds to the nonprofit Veterans Leadership Council-CARES of North Carolina, which assists veterans across the state by creating private-public partnerships between government agencies and volunteers.
The VLC is based in Raleigh and has been in operation since 2009. Its executive director, John Turner, is a former Army officer and decorated Iraq combat veteran. Marine veteran Jeff Smith also leads the organization.
"Many people have worked with great resolve to bring about this day," Turner said. "We are proud of the community of support we have built for North Carolina veterans. This grant will make the Veterans Life Center a reality, and begin the process of caring for those who defended us."
Governor McCrory also thanked U.S. Senator Richard Burr for his unceasing dedication to the project. Burr, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, has been a chief advocate in Washington of the project since its inception.