Work is beginning on the conversion of a former downtown office building into a shelter for homeless veterans, particularly women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 27-bed Way Station Welcome Home Veterans project, made possible through a $900,000 grant from DHCD, will treat veterans will mental illness, substance abuse problems and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. "We just started construction, and we're planning to be done by April, and I imagine our veterans would be moving in by May or June," said Scott Rose, President of the Way Station in Frederick. The office building previously was used by an affiliate of Way Station Inc, the nonprofit mental health organization with facilities in Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Washington counties.
Funding for the $3.3 million project included the grant from DHCD's Shelter and Transitional Housing and Facilities Grant Program and support from the Maryland Department of Mental Health and the federal Veterans Administration.
The project comes amid growing concern about the difficulties, emotional and financial, that returning veterans face in Maryland and throughout the country. Female veterans make up about 8 percent of all veterans nationwide, compared to 4 percent in 1990, the Associated Press reported last spring.
There are an estimated 3,200 homeless female veterans across the country, many with young children and many suffering the same stresses from serving in a frontless combat zone as their male counterparts.