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Woman Fights To Open Transitional Home For Homeless Vets

7:00 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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Yadkinville, NC -- There are more than 67,000 homeless veterans in the U.S. according to an estimate by the Veterans Affairs office in Washington D.C.

To put it in perspective, that's about the population of Lexington, Jamestown, Thomasville and Kernersville combined.

A Triad project to deal with the problem just hit a snag after Yadkinville town leaders shot down a transitional facility for homeless veterans.

Lewis says she decided to open the transitional home because she couldn't stand seeing war heroes living on the streets, begging for food and clothing.

Lewis currently owns a home health aid business in Forsyth County. She says her research shows there are more than 400 homeless, disabled veterans in the Yadkinville area who need the services she wants to establish. 

"We want to put them in place that they can now call home, where they can actually learn how to transition back into the community and learn how to live all over again so they can go out and help others." 

The transition home was supposed to open in July, but Yadkinville leaders shut that down because of zoning issues. Petitioned to get the zoning changed but city council denied that.

"We're disappointed with Yadkinville, the town hall, that they would not rezone this facility," Lewis said.

Yadkinville town manager, Christopher Ong, says the property was zoned for Residential-Office and Lewis' facility needs to be in a Business zoning district.

"It's one of those issues where it's more or less the use. It's not about any group of people that are housed in a certain area," said Ong.

The town manager also explained that Yadkinville leaders support Lewis' project, but the zoning ordinance is the law.

Lewis is now working with the state to change the status and license of the home to multi-unit assisted living facility with services. That simply means it would meet the zoning requirements and still provided the same services for homeless veterans.

Lewis says the transition home will be open to all homeless veterans but to make sure people don't try to lie their way in, they would have to be referred through the VA.

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