November 20, 2013

Augusta lawmakers to push for homeless housing

Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, proposes that four former group homes on state property be turned into housing for homeless veterans.

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Potential solution: This photo taken on Tuesday on Arsenal Heights in Augusta shows two of the four former group homes that Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, has proposed to turn into homeless shelters for veterans. The four houses on the former Augusta Mental Health Institute campus are near the Kennebec Arsenal on the east side of Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Housing proposal: Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, talks on Tuesday on Arsenal Heights in Augusta about plans to turn four former group homes into shelters for homeless veterans. The four houses on the former Augusta Mental Health Institute campus are near the Kennebec Arsenal on the east side of Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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“We think they’d be even more successful in their reintegration into the community by having a permanent housing facility where they could live that’d be affordable, in a semi-private setting, among other veterans,” LaChance said. “This is a nonpartisan thing that would save taxpayers money and help vets out of homelessness. I can’t think of a more reasonable bill.”

Wilson and LaChance said demolishing the buildings is expected to cost $100,000, a cost that would be avoided by the state if it sold them, instead.

LaChance said the buildings would not be a homeless shelter, they would be permanent housing for veterans.

He said the facility would likely be “dry,” meaning residents could not drink alcohol there.

Wilson said two of the buildings already have conference rooms, private bedrooms, central kitchens, and strong foundations, making them relatively easily conversions for housing. He said the conference rooms could be used, for example, for post-traumatic stress disorder workshops and other events meant to help veterans.

“Whether we run it or someone else runs it, we know there is a need,” he said. “We’re in our third year of running our (veterans homeless) shelter now, and we’ve processed close to 150 veterans that have gone on, throughout the state, to live in apartments and elsewhere. To be able to offer them a lodging facility with other vets, at an affordable price, would make it even more successful.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647kedwards@centralmaine.com

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Empty: This photo taken on Tuesday on Arsenal Heights in Augusta shows one of the four former group homes that Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, has proposed to turn into homeless shelters for veterans. The four houses on the former Augusta Mental Health Institute campus are near the Kennebec Arsenal on the east side of Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

  


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