VENETA, Ore. -- A local nonprofit is hoping to help veterans in a new way. They've been renovating a former forest work camp in Veneta into a wellness center.
On Thursday, Veterans Legacy invited community leaders to Camp Alma to learn about the Veterans Wellness Center. Both state and county leaders at the tour have strong words of support for the facility.
"It's a win-win situation for the county and the community," said Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich.
"As a veteran, I am all in on that. I think this is a great program," said State Senator James Manning.
It's a wellness center that'll help veterans who have medical or psychological needs heal in a serene environment as they start their transition back into the community.
"It's a major need that's well recognized," Dr. John LeBow, the Veterans Legacy Board of Directors President.
Bozievich said it will be a wonderful veteran specific supported housing facility.
"There's over 200 homeless veterans at this time in Lane County any day of the week, so getting 50 of them out here in this program and having them get that case management, and getting that care, getting them reintegrated back into society successfully can save this whole community a lot of money," said Bozievich. "At the same time, they'll be out here producing food...feeding that food hopefully back into Food for Lane County and other programs."
Manning also said this center will benefit the community, and adds that it'll even help connect veterans with jobs.
"They will return back to the community empowered with the tools they need to be successful, to include those who are going into the trades, they'll be able to do that...those pursuing education goals, housing, all those things," said Manning.
The old and vacant work camp has come a long way in the last couple of years, thanks to countless hours of volunteers with Veterans Legacy.
LeBow said the University of Oregon just donated more than 50 bed frames to them. He said they hope to have the facility up and running by September 1st. That's when they bring in their first three to four veterans, and continue to grow from there.
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