Organizations ask for more funding for local veterans campus

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Housing Authority along with Welcome Home and the Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital are asking for help funding a new campus for veterans in Columbia.

The new campus is located off Business Loop 70 East and will include 25 permanent residences, a support center and a shelter for homeless veterans.

"We've seen support across all aspects of the community... we need to come up with about 2.2 million dollars to finish off the Welcome Home side of the project so we really encourage the community to step forward large and small and help us close the gap," Columbia Housing Authority CEO Phil Steinhaus said.

Welcome Home's portion of the project is building the shelter and support center.

The Columbia City Council is proposing to give $500,000 to the veterans' campus, according to a city budget meeting on August 22.

The city council will vote on the funding in September.

"The city's donation is critical...that money will help renovate the building to create a temporary and transitional shelter for veterans," Steinhaus said.

The transitional shelter for veterans is only $250,000 from being completed, according to Steinhaus. The shelter will provide 14 transitional units for veterans.

The total cost of the shelter and the support center is about $3.1 million. They have raised $1 million so far, according to Welcome Home documents.

The project has been funded using low income tax credits, tax-exempt housing bonds and donations from various organizations.

The Columbia Housing Authority and the Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital are currently providing shelter for more than 80 homeless veterans, according to Steinhaus. 

Construction is already underway on the fully funded Patriot Place apartments. The apartments will add 25 permanent apartments for veterans and should be completed by next spring.