BUTNER, N.C. (Oct. 27, 2017) – Under clear skies on a crisp day in Butner, U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis led a crowd of hundreds of well-wishers in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Veterans Life Center, a new concept in returning homeless, troubled and at-risk veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to civilian life.
The facility will open in early 2019 with about 100 beds and eventually have about 150 beds, plus a full kitchen and dining room, various activity rooms, and offices for a staff of 30 to 40 including case managers, counselors, nurses and other professionals. Male and female residents will receive services on-site or in nearby hospitals, treatment centers and educational institutions. Issues such as PTSD, substance abuse, disorder and traumatic brain injury will be addressed, and counseling on family reunification, and non-sectarian spiritual guidance will be offered. Educational services will feature life-skills training as well as vocational education.
Residents will help develop their own customized plans, of varying length, all designed to return them to self-sufficiency in communities throughout the state.
Senator Tillis praised the project, saying “This is a classic example of a program where the mind and heart are in perfect sync. It is a solid fiscally sound program supporting our veterans. As important, it is the right thing to do.”
The event featured a shovel turning ceremony at which the two Senators, along with Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Brooks Turner, former State Representative Marilyn Avila, Butner Mayor Pro Tem Christene Emory, VLC Board Chairman Don Comer and VLC Executive Director and founder John Turner wielded the ceremonial shovels.
Financing for the construction was provided by a HUD Community Development Block Grant administered by the N.C. Department of Commerce as authorized by the General Assembly. The $7.8 million CDBG is the largest ever awarded in North Carolina.