Yakima, WA - The first veteran housing unit in the Yakima Valley had it's grand opening ceremony today.
Chuck Austin's Place, named after a veteran who won fought in three wars, will not only be dedicated to housing homeless veterans, but offer other services as well. These services include case management and having a medical and dental clinic on site through Neighborhood Health Services (NHS).
Rhonda Hauff the CEO of NHS said she doesn't know if it will motivate veterans to seek services more but it makes them more accessible.
"Our job is to reduce the barriers and so we're doing a lot of outreach our clinic here is for veteran's throughout the valley," Hauff said. "They don't necessarily have to live here in order to receive our services."
The project broke ground in 2019 and was funded partly through the Affordable Housing Tax Credit, a program championed by Senator Maria Cantwell. Other partners like Pacific Power also helped provide grants to make the project possible.
The complex now finished includes 41 apartments.
Ralph Harvey a U.S. Navy National Guard veteran moved into the complex in September with his wife Becky and his cat Henry. Harvey said he's grateful to have a place to call his own after being homeless on and off for three years.
"It's amazing because now I can put my head down and not have to worry about somebody coming up on me," Harvey said.
The clinic onsite also offers behavioral health services and while Harvey hasn't used them yet, he said it's nice to know they are there.
"I know one of these days I'll probably need it and I know its there," Harvey said.
He also said he'd like to see more housing units for veterans and suggested using a building downtown for apartments.
"I've seen way to many deaths, too many veterans out on the streets," Harvey said. "Let's find these homeless veterans and start getting them in places."
To find more information about the living requirements and services offered at Chuck Austin's Place you can visit their website.