Why was the location on Malcolm Drive selected for the Veterans Homeless Shelter and housing project? The U.S. Army Reserve Center (USARC) was given to Carroll County Government (CCG) in 2015 intended for law enforcement purposes which the County decided was not workable. At a meeting of the Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council (VAC), then Chairman Frank Valenti, who was the Director of Social Services for Carroll County, suggested the center, having sat unused for over a year, could be repurposed as a veterans homeless shelter and transition services center. The VAC agreed and sent a letter to CCG requesting approval of the project. It was felt the USARC’s location, size, and condition was well-suited for the intended use. Also, having been a military facility, repurposing it to benefit our veterans was a readily acceptable fix to meet the need for such a facility.
What type of job skills training will be provided for the veterans? Job skills training will vary depending on assessment of each veteran. In general, we will be able to direct veterans to the appropriate County social service agency to help evaluate past job experience, write a resume, practice interviewing, and learn job search processes leading to finding an appropriate job. There will be no limit on the types of jobs that any veteran can apply for depending on their individual qualifications.
How will the Center be staffed (salaried or volunteer)? The Center will be staffed and operated by both full and part-time paid professionals. Volunteers will also play a substantial role in supporting the Center in various ways.
What will be the average age of the veterans using the Center services? Average age will likely vary greatly depending on the mix of veterans from various war time eras. We could have Vietnam Era vets that now would be in their mid to late 60s and 70s. Moving through the Gulf War up to the current engagements could bring much younger veterans perhaps in their 20s and 30s and older. In addition, we’ll also be serving veteran families with children. So average age will vary greatly.
What are the cost projections for this project and how will the funds be raised? It is estimated currently that the project will cost about $4.5 million dollar. We will need approximately $2M to begin the project and start the renovation of the Center. Funding will be solicited from diverse and multiple sources. Some we’ve already identified are Federal and State (MD) grants, a State (MD) Bond Bill request, individual and corporate foundation grants, and donations from veteran service organizations (VSOs), various organizations’ fund-raising events, individuals, and others.
What is the organization plans for CCVIP and what will be of the benefits of this apporach? As we mentioned at the Taneytown Business Breakfast, we are forming a IRS Code 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project, Inc. (CCVIP). We’ve already filed with the State (MD) and forwarded our application to the IRS for final approval. Perhaps the major benefit is our non-profit status will exempt us from taxation on funding sources. While there are Federal and State guidelines by which non-profit organizations must abide, we believe this is the best option for our purposes.
Will the CCVIP be seeking support from privatelyowned business? Yes. We’re beginning to get the word out about our project and initial response has been most positive. As we expand our marketing, we’re very confident more and more businesses, especially those who are veteran-owned and/or veteran-friendly in terms of hiring, and many others will support us in multiple ways. In addition, we’re joining the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, joining hundreds of local businesses, and taking advantage of the increased interaction with those businesses to solicit mutually beneficial support.
Why does the CCVIP Board of Directors and Planning Group help out fellow veterans try to find jobs? For the Board and planning group, it’s in our DNA as veterans to always look out for and assist one another. We never stop serving and I’m certain you’ll experience that as you start your service, if you haven’t already. There are numerous resources and programs throughout all our military service organizations devoted to educating and preparing service members and their family members to find and get jobs. And there are also numerous government and civilian programs and organizations that participate in helping veterans find jobs. It’s really a cooperative and mutually beneficial endeavor that’s a win-win for all stakeholders.
What is the mission statement for CCVIP? The Carroll County Veterans Independence Project (CCVIP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to provide support services to veterans and their families including transitional housing, physical and mental health services, and educational, training, and employment assistance. Also, when space allows, provide emergency shelter to veterans in need. [Our goal is to promote the health, community integration, and achievement of purposeful goals for veterans and their families in need of assistance.]
What is the Vision for the CCVIP Project down the road (i.e., will there be more placeslike the CCVIP Center)? A great question (as your others). When we briefed the MD Secretary of Veterans Affairs, George Owings and Deputy, Robert Finn, to solicit their full support at the State level, we mentioned that if we do this project right and achieve absolute success, it will provide a model to be used in other places. Secretary Owings immediately seized upon the idea because there are other such former military facilities in MD that could be transformed for similar purposes. There will likely always be a need to better accommodate the needs of our veterans and we must always remember we owe them our support.