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December 14, 2012

News

Veterans Assistance Program at Fort McCoy to relocate

The Veterans Assistance Program (VAP) is scheduled to cease operations at Fort McCoy by Dec. 31.

Jenna Homburg, executive assistant, Office of the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), said the decision was made as a result of the number of veterans using the program at McCoy and additional room available at the Tomah Veterans Assistance Center Foundation (VACF) and support services in that community, including the Tomah Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

The VAP program at Fort McCoy provides veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless a place to live while also helping them find employment and affordable housing. Currently 10 veterans are being housed at the Fort McCoy facility, which has a maximum capacity of 14 people. Veterans can spend from a few months to up to two years in the program.

The Tomah VACF has sufficient beds and more to support any veterans in the Fort McCoy VAP who want to go there.

“We have communicated with the veterans currently being served at the Fort McCoy VAP as well as the Tomah VA Medical Center to ensure we continue to meet the needs of these veterans and all future homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless,” said John Scocos, secretary of the WDVA, in a letter sent to Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott. “We are currently working with all the veterans to ensure they have suitable housing by December 31. We are, however, not planning for the final closure and turn-in of the buildings (at Fort McCoy used to support the VAP) until January 31.”

WDVA officials said the decision to close the Fort McCoy VAP was part of the WDVA’s reorganization efforts. The elimination of duplicate services at closely located sites helps save taxpayer money.

State officials said the Tomah VACF is better suited to serve the veterans because it is located closer to hospital services at the VA Medical Center.

The VAP has been at Fort McCoy since 1994, when it was established as a Veterans Assistance Center (VAC). The program received its current name about four years ago.

Three other VACs were created in 1994 and also serve homeless/at risk veterans. These VACs are located in Chippewa Falls, Union Grove and King.

Homburg said the next phase of the reorganization will focus on relocating the VAP program to areas that are more populated with available jobs for displaced veterans so they can come into the VAP as a transitioning process to obtain stable employment and independent living arrangements.

(Information in this story is from news releases from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.)

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