Veterans group is using donation money to house more soldiers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Veterans group is using donation money to house more soldiers

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A local veterans group is using donation money to house more soldiers. The Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition is expanding their staff and thanks to a recent million dollar donation the group is already starting to invest that money into homes for veterans that need a place to live. We're told there are as many as 80 homeless veterans around Tri-Cities. A number the veteran's coalition is planning to shrink.

The Southeastern Washington Central Labor Council donated a check last week for $215,000 and payments up to $1.2 million. The groups have decided what the money should be spent on. It's one of the area's biggest problems, available housing for veterans.

The Southeast Washington Central Labor Council President Dennis Tillett says the group thought donating money to the CBVC was a great idea. "We felt it was a good cause to give to veterans. There's a lot of veterans in unions now and they're high quality people."

Since September, 8 veterans have been living at the Wagenaar-Pfister home in Keenewick. Now the coalition is looking to house three times as many veterans by next year. Members of the coalition are thinking about purchasing a home for student veterans or other people who need transitional housing. This week they're meeting with groups from WSU Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College to assess housing needs for veteran students. They're checking out houses next to some of the schools to potentially buy.

Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition Director Skip Novakovich says he's excited for the new housing opportunity. "It's just great to be able to grow something that's helping so many other people in so many ways and helping them not only just but helping them become productive members of society," said Novakovich.

Veteran groups that met last week to speak with Senator Patty Murray said there's also a big need for a veteran women's resources in Tri-Cities. The coalition says they are also considering housing options for women and their families too.

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