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Washington Oaks Offers Housing for Homeless Veterans 
Washington Oaks ribbon-cutting

Big turnout this morning to celebrate Helen Ross McNabb 's opening of Washington Oaks, 15 apartments at 3235 Washington Pike that will offer permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.

As Helen Ross McNabb President and CEO Jerry Vagnier said: This housing initiative, along with McNabb's earlier opening of Cedar Crossing on Coster Road, will help 21 veterans who have served our country well.

The need is great, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero told the crowd: National statistics tell us that between 10 and 20 percent of people who are homeless have served in the military. Our local database indicates more than 700 veterans seek help from homelessness partner agencies each year, and Census counts estimate that close to 2,000 veterans and their families in Knox County live below the poverty level.

 Partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the City's Community Development Department provided about $260,000 through the City's Rental Rehabilitation Program to turn a once derelict, blighted property on Washington Pike into a place of new hope.

Many-Bears Grinder, commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Veterans Affairs, called the opening of these apartments "a life-changing event" for the families being helped.

"Two words should never come together - 'homeless' and 'veterans,'" she said. Giving these veterans, who had been productive as members of the armed services, both dignity and the potential to become productive once again is "powerful" Grinder said.

"It's a hand up, not a handout," she said.

Other speakers at today's opening were Randy Boyd, state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development and the 2014 United Way campaign chair; Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; and Susan Conway, Helen Ross McNabb board chair.

City Council members George Wallace and Daniel Brown were among the dozens of well-wishers who attended today's ribbon-cutting.
Several groups donated labor or materials to help Washington Oaks to open. The Democratic Women of Knoxville bought kitchen furnishings and housewares; members of Washington Pike United Methodist Church provided the labor to landscape the property; and Read Window Products donated the window blinds.

Janna Cecil, Becky Wade and Art Cate at Washington OaksMayor Madeline Rogero addresses the needs of homeless veterans at Washington Oaks opening.

Former Mayor Daniel Brown tours the rehabilitated units at Washington Oaks.
Posted by evreeland On 28 May, 2015 at 2:04 PM  

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