Update on Veterans Housing Programs at the Soldiers Home

Update on Veterans Housing Programs at the Soldiers Home

We all agree that one homeless veteran, or working veteran who is unable to achieve housing
security, is one too many. That is why WDVA is working with service providers like the Puget Sound
Veterans Hope Center and WestCare to increase the availability of supportive housing programs for
veterans at the Soldiers Home.

The Soldiers Home was established in 1891 to provide housing for homeless Civil War Veterans. Since
that time, we have continued to serve veterans on our campus through the Federal VA’s Domiciliary
Program that provides funding for programs that
serve homeless or economically disadvantaged veterans.  Currently this program operates in
Roosevelt Barracks.

With the scarcity of affordable independent housing or supportive transitional housing, we’ve
explored options for putting our vacant rooms and buildings to use to serve our veterans. However,
the lack of funding available at the federal or state level for either capital investments or
operational dollars for new programs kept us from moving forward.

In 2014, we entered into a lease with the WestCare Foundation to renovate Betsy Ross Hall and then
operate a housing program for women veterans.  This building has been transformed into a beautiful
home for women veterans! In March, we learned of the Pierce County Executive’s plan to provide
$250,000 in operational dollars to fund the program and I am excited to see this project move
forward.

In addition to the WestCare Betsy Ross project, the Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center has been
working on a dream that is becoming reality for a Veterans Village on several acres in the area
behind the picnic structure by the Betsy Ross building. The Veterans Village would include 30 tiny
homes along with a community building.  The homes will include a living/sleeping area, toilet and
sink.  Kitchen and shower facilities would be located in the community building and provide that
sense of camaraderie and community for veterans living in the houses.

Please know that any provider operating a program to serve veterans on the Soldiers Home Campus
will be required to follow the same background check procedures we use for our own programs.  In
addition, the campus will remain a drug and alcohol free campus regardless of what entity operates the programs.

If you have questions about the WestCare Betsy Ross Program, please contact Ray Switzer at
ray.switzer@westcare.com. If you have questions about the Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center Veterans
Village please contact Maryellen Hill at 253-472-6626.

As plans move forward, we will continue to provide you with updates and information.