Million-dollar veterans housing project completed

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COLUMBIA - Volunteers and workers made the finishing touches Wednesday on a new housing complex for veterans in Columbia. 

Patriot Place offers permanent housing in 25 apartments available only to veterans, the first complex of its kind in Mid-Missouri. The apartments are a part of the Welcome Home campus, a veterans' community in Columbia. 

Greg Steinhoff is the president of Veterans United Foundation, and he said the complex would make it easier for veterans to integrate back into the community.

"The whole idea of this campus is that someone who is homeless, who's a veteran, can come off the street, get their feet back on the ground, and actually have a place to call home," Steinhoff said. 

The Columbia Housing Authority was another partner in the project. CEO Phil Steinhaus said veterans deserve this housing option, and it would help them get reestablished in the community.

"To help someone reintegrate into society and get stable, you need a roof over your head," Steinhaus said. "You need someone helping you out to reconnect with your family, to maybe deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome, and other issues you might be facing as you come back from the battlefield." 

The project was the result of a partnership among the Columbia Housing Authority, Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital and Welcome Home, Inc. The Veterans United Foundation donated $1 million to the project in 2014. 

Both Steinhaus and Steinhoff said the project had support from people and organizations all over Columbia. 

"What makes this concept work is that we have so many people that have a stake in it," Steinhoff said. "To see so many people come together and provide different services to give these veterans a home, it really makes Columbia stand above."

"It's been an overwhelming community support," Steinhaus said. "I think our community has really come together around this."

Veterans planned on moving into the apartments on Monday.