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Builders’ Group Aids Center for Homeless Veterans

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Homeless Vietnam veterans in San Diego suffering from drug and alcohol abuse or psychological stress moved a step closer Thursday to finding a haven.

The Vietnam Veterans Rehabilitation Center in San Diego received a check for $50,000 Thursday and will be given an equal amount in materials and building supplies to help convert an old motel into a rehabilitation center.

The money and materials were donated by an arm of the Building Industry Assn. in a ceremony at the future site of the center, newly named the Building Industry Assn./Vietnam Veterans of San Diego Rehabilitation Center, said Vietnam Veterans spokesman Robert Van Keuren.

“There are a lot of homeless people, but over 30% of them are Vietnam veterans,” said BIA CARES spokesman Daren Groth. “They need a way to matriculate back into society, and we feel it is very important to give them every break we can.”

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Homeless veterans who need to recover from drug or alcohol abuse will be able to stay at the facility for at least three months.

There will also be help for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, a disorder affecting former combat soldiers. Job training and counseling services will also be provided.

The center is expecting to house more than 60 beds when it opens in early spring, and up to 80 beds by summer, Van Keuren said. More than 20 employees with experience in helping veterans recover from emotional problems will assist in therapy.

The cost of the project will be more than $900,000 and will also be financed by grants from the Centre City Development Corp. of San Diego and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Van Keuren said.

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