On September 21st, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place for a new project that seeks to provide housing for homeless veterans in Vancouver, Wa.
Freedom’s Path at Vancouver Apartments provides chronically homeless vets with studio and 1-bedroom apartments, including access to a cyber cafe, a workout room, medical care on the VA campus, employment services and mental health care, all on-site.
Fifty units make up Freedom’s Path, providing homes to vets like Air Force Veteran Karl Colbert, who served from 1970-1971.
“Just having a place of my own has been more of a blessing than anything I could have imagined,” Colbert says. “Even though my life had been disruptive for a time, having the housing component available to me right now means that I have a base now.”
Colbert has been at Freedom’s Path for about 3 weeks and is already establishing himself, recently graduating from the residential treatment program on campus, which is near the college.
Paul MacPherson with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Vancouver says Freedom’s Path is part of a unique program in the federal government that provides supportive housing.
“We understand homelessness among veterans is unacceptable and that we’re doing everything we can to possibly help,” said MacPherson. “This is just one way of using the real estate we have, our under-utilized real estate to address this particular issue.”
It’s already affected Colbert: “Even though I’d formulated in my mind that I had been forgotten, the community has not forgotten us as veterans,” he says. “I’ve been offered so much and I’ve been given so much that I need to find a way to give back.”