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Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester to expand housing for homeless vets

Richards House, located off South Ave. in Rochester, part of the Veterans Outreach Center's services
Veterans Outreach Center
Richards House, located off South Ave. in Rochester, part of the Veterans Outreach Center's services

A program designed to help homeless veterans in Rochester is expanding. The Veterans Outreach Center is in the process of starting construction on an expansion of the Richards House. That’s a facility near South Avenue which also has on-site support for veterans.

Laura Stradley is executive director of the Veterans Outreach Center. She said Richards House provides support services for veterans who are facing various challenges.

“Mental health and drug use certainly can be components, but so can losing one’s job, possibly going through a divorce and having issues within the home,” Stradley said. “And so a lot of the work that we do focuses on just kind of a very holistic approach.“

Stradley said the basic concept for Richards House is that veterans who find temporary housing there will get the help they need to eventually transition to a more permanent situation.

“Somebody could come in, in an emergency situation or in crisis, and that’s what starts them there,” said Stradley. “And then they progress into sort of that more lengthy period of transitional housing. And then ultimately, the goal is for them to move into permanent housing.”

Stradley said the expansion work will improve the overall layout of Richards Housing, expanding the number of beds from 30 to 46, and also adding an elevator.

The $6.2 million expansion is being funded through a combination of federal and state aid, with the remaining support coming from the Veterans Outreach Center and private donors.

It will take about a year to complete the expansion which will increase bed capacity from the current 30 beds up to 46.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.