First phase of $11M Veterans Life Center in Butner to open in early 2015

Amanda Jones Hoyle, Staff Writer- Triangle Business Journal
May 27, 2014

More details are coming out about the proposed new Veterans Life Center facility for homeless military veterans at the John Umstead  Hospital Complex in Butner.

John Turner, executive director of the Raleigh nonprofit agency supporting the proposed Veterans Life Center, says the renovation of the building known as Building 71 on the campus will be the first of eight buildings they expect to use by completion of the VLC. A $4.2 million federal grant recently awarded to the Town of Butner on behalf of the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES nonprofit (via the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s community development block program) will be enough to cover most of the costs of opening Building 71, the largest of the eight buildings.

Turner says the VLC will employ about 26 people when it opens in early 2015, and it will have enough beds to house 150 veterans and their families on a temporary basis.

When all eight facilities are completed, it will have enough beds for about 400 homeless veterans, or a total cost of about $11.2 million. The VLC will also have staff providing professional counseling, health and wellness services, mentoring and other support services to help the veterans become self-sufficient again.

The buildings were originally constructed during World War II to serve as a hospital for the U.S. Army, but they are currently vacant. The North Carolina Council of State in 2013 agreed to leased the buildings for 25 years to the VLC-Cares for use as a facility to provide services for homeless and at risk veterans.

A sold-out, fund-raising event on behalf of Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES was among the first banquets that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory attended after being sworn in as governor in January 2013.

VLC-Cares’ advisory committee also includes former Governors Jim Hunt and Jim Martin and former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell.

U.S. Veterans Administration data shows that there are about 8,000 homeless veterans in North Carolina.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate. Follow her on Twitter @TBJrealestate

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