Patriot Place construction has started but not for Welcome Home

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COLUMBIA - Construction of half of a veteran housing project is underway, but the other half will not start until it receives enough funding.

The Columbia Housing Authority and the Truman VA Hospital are a few weeks into construction of Patriot Place, an apartment complex with 25 one-bedroom apartments for veterans. But a Welcome Home shelter is delayed until more money can be raised.

The combined veterans housing will be on Business Loop 70 at what was once a motel called the Deluxe Inn.

Construction of Patriot Place began in mid-June, and the crew has been removing asbestos. Project Superintendent Tim Sheahan said he expects to be done with that in a few weeks.

He said the crew will then begin framing the walls and leveling the floors.

The Patriot Place project cost about $4.5 million.

Sarah Grim, the CEO of Welcome Home, Inc., said CHA and the Truman VA Hospital raised the Patriot Place money in less than eight months, which is record time.

"Most capital campaigns take 18 to 24 months to complete," Grim said.

She said funding for the Welcome Home shelter is going more slowly.

The estimated cost of the shelter is $3.5 million.

Grim said Welcome Home, Inc. has raised about $300,000 on its own, and another $250,000 came from a community development block grant.

She said it was all part of a strategic plan.

"The focus was to get the Columbia Housing Authority funded first - their 4.5 million," Grim said. "That happened with the decision last summer. So they went all out and focused on getting that 4.5 million. We held back, and now that they're fully funded and have started construction, we're pushing full speed ahead."

She said the organization is in its seventh month of fundraising for the Welcome Home shelter.