Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

Transformation of Army Reserve Center into homeless veteran shelter one step closer

Built in 1961, the Carroll County Memorial U.S. Army Reserve Center in Westminster was designed to support and house Army members, but for the past two decades has remained empty. If the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project has its way, in two years, the facility will continue to serve servicemen and women, only on the other end of their service.

Thursday, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners approved a presentation by CCVIP, pitching a revitalization of the center, from barracks into a homeless shelter for Carroll County veterans. The armory will continue to be owned by the county, which is renting the facility to the organization for $1 a year.


According to Ed Cramer, a board member with the CCVIP, the plan is to take the bones of the 13,000-square-foot building and transform it into a homeless shelter, with individual rooms for 20 veterans and group rooms for an additional four families. The facility will also be home to laundry and kitchen facilities as well as educational opportunities, including skill-based lessons in career training.

Outside of the central facility, on the nearly 4 acres of land, Cramer said they plan to build up to 20 tiny homes, compact one room mobile houses than can be erected with little land preparation, to act as an intermediate step between living in the shelter and returning to the outside world. According to Frank Valenti, chair of the Veterans Advisory Council the plan is for residents to remain in the shelter for a year before moving out into the tiny homes for a space of their own.


Valenti said there are approximately 13,000 veterans currently living in and just around Carroll County, with a national rate of 8.75 percent homelessness among veterans.

CCVIP is operating under the Community Foundation of Carroll County Inc., but is working on incorporating itself into a 501(C)(3) of its own.

Valenti said they are currently working on seeking out the forms of funding from grants to bond bills to pay for the estimated $4.5 million project.

Though the bones of the building are good, he said, it will require major restoration to prepare to become a shelter, including a complete replacement of the roof and ceiling.

Cramer said the group is optimistically hoping for a spring 2019 open, with four permanent and two part-time staff members.

Now that the project has been approved by the commissioners, it will be submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services who will look at the project’s budget, funding and plans before making decisions about moving forward.