LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - At times, staff with the Veterans Affairs drop-in clinic thought their plans to move to downtown would be stopped. Some businesses and neighbors were less than welcoming and they had some hurdles to pass with the Little Rock city board. It's been a year since they announced they were taking over the former Cook Jeep property on Main Street and this week they opened their doors.
The Veterans Day Treatment Center has new walls, fresh paint, office space and plenty of room for homeless veterans to feel comfortable.
Staff says they were bursting at the seams after being in a 3,000 square foot facility for nearly 20-years and veterans down on their luck who come in for services, need to feel appreciated. Program manager, Dr. Estella Morris says, "We want these homeless veterans that have been living on the street to know that we value them and their service as much as we value the service of any veteran."
The new 12,000 square foot clinic will offer primary health care, hot meals, job assistance, treatment services, and places to shower and do laundry.
"When we first moved to the downtown location we had about 7 staff, now we have more than 30 staff, soon to be about 40." Dr. Morris expects an increase in clients, not just because they're increasing the amount of programs offered, but because the location on Main Street is more accessible.
Their number one goal is to get veterans off the street, into permanent housing and provide continued support. Dr. Morris adds, "We typically see from 50 to 70 veterans that come in during the day."
Dr. Morris says they're seeing younger veterans and more women with children. They saw 835 clients last year, better than 1200 five years ago.
The Veterans Day Treatment Center is open Monday-Friday from 7 am until 2:30 p.m. at 10th and Main.