02.16.10

New Upper Valley Haven Adult Shelter Critical To Serving Area Homeless And Homeless Veterans

...Leahy Secured $200,000 Appropriation For Adult Shelter Project

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. – During a construction tour of the Upper Valley Haven’s new shelter for homeless adults in White River Junction Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy told representatives of the Haven, capital campaign donors and White River Junction Veterans Administration (VA) Director Robert Walton that a $200,000 appropriation he secured for the facility was going to help serve the Upper Valley’s homeless and homeless veterans in need of medical care at the nearby VA hospital.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy secured the $200,000 in last year’s federal budget. In combination with generous support from area residents, the grant has helped the Haven renovate and expand an existing structure into a shelter for 20 adults adding to the Upper Valley Haven’s eight-family, 46-bed shelter.

"The scourge of homelessness grips too many in this country,” said Leahy. “For years the Upper Valley Haven has been equipped to help families get out of the cold by providing short term shelter and long term anti-poverty counseling. This new shelter, and this appropriation, will allow them to offer that much-needed service to adults without children – including veterans who either live in the area or who come to the area to seek care from the Veterans Administration.”

The Upper Valley Haven’s existing White River Junction campus also includes casework management staff, a food shelf, after school programming, a spot to pick up donated clothing and adult and child education programs. Along with the new space, the Upper Valley Haven’s current campaign will enable the organization to offer 24-hour, seven-days-a-week staffing at both shelters and additional casework support positions.

“We are very grateful for Senator Leahy's support and determination,” said Upper Valley Haven Executive Director Sara Kobylenski. “This is a true community effort, to solve a tough community issue. With the Senator's gift we are on schedule to open and begin operating the new Adult Shelter by May 1, 2010. It has been a challenge to raise funds in this economy, and that work is never done. We have an additional $150,000 left to raise in operating support by March 31 in order to add staff and programming for the new building. Now, more than ever, every gift to the Haven makes a world of difference."

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to recognize this valuable regional resource, and are very proud of the amazing work of our neighbors at the Upper Valley Haven,” said White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center Director Robert Walton.  “This facility represents a significant advancement for the continued support of our local homeless population, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the Haven to achieve the VA goal of eliminating homelessness in our Nation’s Veterans.”

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