Center Ready to House Homeless Veterans

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:00 am

By Hilary Dickinson

After roughly six months, the renovations at the Caravilla Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing Program are now complete.

To showcase the finished product to donors and volunteers, Rock Valley Community Programs (RVCP) will be holding an open house on from 1 – 5 p.m. Thursday at its facility, 203 W. Sunny Lane Road, Janesville. The event is by invitation only.

“It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s very nice,” said Kathy Arndt, the veterans service director. “It’s a place where a veteran will feel proud to live and be respected for the service he’s given his country.”

The renovations began in mid-October and were completed about two weeks ago, said Arndt, who noted the apartment units feature futons, small tables, chairs, and a dresser.

RVCP renovated 24 studio apartments, two of which are handicap accessible. Each unit can provide housing for two homeless veterans, serving 48 homeless veterans at a time.

Arndt said so far 15 veterans are scheduled to move into the units. They will be moving in this week, and a couple of them will be moved in before the open house.

RVCP currently is taking referrals from people such as social workers and shelter workers who also will be in attendance on Thursday. Veterans may refer themselves as well.

Veterans from anywhere in VISN 12 will be eligible for RVCP’s Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing Program. VISN 12 includes all of Wisconsin, northern Illinois, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the northwestern corner of Indiana.

For more information on the referral process or about the transitional housing program, contact Arndt at 608-757-6457.

The renovations were made possible by countless donations and the award of a capital and per diem grant from the U.S. Veteran’s Administration. Caravilla’s Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing Program received $418,828, which covered the renovation of the north wing and the purchase of a van.

The Fatherhood Initiative men donated about $15,250 worth of labor when they performed all of the interior demolition. She added the Hendricks Family Foundation contributed a grant for $75,000.

Their name, among others, will be recognized when the donor wall is unveiled at Thursday’s open house where a quilt will also be raffled.

The total project cost is $644,051. In early October just before the renovations began, $95,000 needed to be raised.

Arndt said the organization is still in need of about $45,000 for the renovations.

Those who want to mail a donation can send them to Homeless Veteran’s Program, care of Rock Valley Community Programs, Inc. 203 W. Sunny Lane Road, Janesville, WI 53546. Anyone interested in making a donation can contact RVCP at 608-741-4500.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful opportunity for Rock County to serve our veteran population,” Arndt said. “Not every county has an opportunity to provide a service like this to our veterans, and our community support has been tremendous.”