Home for veterans construction on schedule

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Wed., Jun. 29, 2011
Crew members from Viking Construction work on the site of the veterans' housing project in Jewett City. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.
Crew members from Viking Construction work on the site of the veterans' housing project in Jewett City. Photo by Janice Steinhagen.

Four months after the start of construction, the American Legion facility for homeless veterans is moving along on schedule.

The original building at 7 Main St., which houses the LaFlamme-Kusek American Legion Post 15, has been gutted to accommodate eight apartments and post meeting space, said capital campaign counsel R. Avery Tillinghast. The foundation for the new addition, which will include 10 additional apartments and space for veterans’ services, has been poured.

The target opening date is April 2012. “As of today, we’re right on target,” said Tillinghast.

The facility is designed to provide supportive housing for 18 homeless veterans in a rural setting, along with support services aimed at “getting them back on track with basic life skills,” Tillinghast said.

While the $5.5 million cost of construction will come from grant monies and tax credits, The American Legion Veterans Housing, Inc. (TALVHI) is still working to raise $760,000 in supplementary funds. This money will go toward such costs as room furnishings, an upgraded heating system, a kitchen and community room re-fitting, and a memorial retaining wall, said Tillinghast. A total of $230,000 is also earmarked for purchase and removal of an adjacent building.

Funds have been trickling in steadily from community service organizations, foundations and individuals, said Tillinghast. “It’s been slow and steady. I’m confident that we’re going to make [the goal],” he said.

At press time, TALVHI had raised $350,500, just shy of the halfway point. “It would be most helpful to the post if people gave between now and the end of the summer,” he said.

Besides monetary donations, TALVHI has received in-kind pledges from many local businesses, he said. A greenhouse has signed on to donate trees and plants, a bank has agreed to finance the landscaping of the grounds, and a local interior decorator has offered to create the window treatments.

In addition, the Waterford Hotel Group has donated sturdy, hotel-grade furniture and soothing wall art from redecorated hotels, Tillinghast said.

Donations have ranged from a few hundred dollars raised by a high school student through the sale of bracelets to $4,800 from the Death Masters motorcycle club, he said. Local fraternal organizations from all over the region, such as the Lions Clubs and Rotary Clubs, have also been generous.

Veterans’ organizations have also contributed, he added, even though “most veterans’ organizations are struggling financially.”

Donors may honor a specific veteran on the Memorial Retaining Wall through a donation of $250 or more. To make a donation, contact TALVHI at 860-208-6253 or visit www.al-veteranshousing.org.

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