Walla Walla veterans' housing program gets boost

The local program helps veterans re-enter life after substance abuse treatment.

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WALLA WALLA -- When Mike Brown goes to Washington, D.C., he apparently gets heard.

Brown, a case manager with Corps of Recovery and Discovery -- a Walla Walla program that helps veterans re-enter life after substance abuse treatment -- spoke before the U.S. Senate's housing appropriations subcommittee last month, explaining the importance of secured housing for recovering, homeless veterans.

On Tuesday, the government responded, allocating 50 vouchers worth more than $200,000 to the Walla Walla Housing Authority to help homeless veterans here move into stable housing.

The award was part of an initial allocation of $59 million -- of a total of $75 million -- to be distributed to local public housing agencies across the nation, intended to help an estimated 10,000 veterans.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chairs the Senate subcommittee, spoke at the same meeting, sharing the same concerns. "Each one of these vouchers represents a year's rent for someone who has sacrificed for our nation but is now struggling to find housing," she said in a press release. "For too long homeless veterans have been forgotten heroes. These vouchers will help us step up our efforts to provide all veterans with housing and the dignity that comes with it."

When reached by phone, Brown was happy to hear the news. "It feels good. I think that was the whole purpose of me going there. I think 50 is a good number for Walla Walla, even 25 would be great."

Vouchers provide rental assistance for a homeless veteran and his or her family members. In addition, the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial Veterans Affairs Medical Center provides support services and case management under the Housing and Urban Development's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.

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