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Nonprofit View: A new nonprofit for our veterans

Nonprofit View: A new nonprofit for our veterans
Ed Cramer shows the floor plan of the veterans service center planned for the old Army Reserve building on Md. 97 in Westminster. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

The Carroll County Veteran’s Independence Project (CCVIP) has achieved its own 501c3 nonprofit status.

The CCVIP initiative began with an idea in July of 2016. At that time, I was the Board Chair for the Carroll County Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) and Commissioners Doug Howard and Richard Weaver were ex-officio members. Carroll County Government had recently received deeded ownership of the old United States Army Reserve building, built in 1961, located at 404 Malcolm Drive (Md. 97).

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VAC members received a tour of the grounds and the two buildings on the property. The property includes 3.81 acres, a main building of 13,000-plus square feet, and a second building of approximately 2,600 square feet. VAC membership voted to establish a separate nonprofit organization to implement this project. CCVIP’s goal is to lease the property from county government to establish a “Veterans Services Center.” To help accomplish this mission, CCVIP and county government have established a working partnership to insures close coordination, planning, and communication between all parties on the local governmental level.

The Veterans Services Center also plans to include additional agreements with our local health and human service providers. For example, Carroll County Veterans Services Officers, Access Carroll, our local Health Department, the Department of Social Services, Veterans Service Organizations, Community Service/Fellowship Organizations, Human Service Programs of Carroll County, Change, Inc., faith-based organizations, the Literacy Council of Carroll County, and Carroll Community College, McDaniel College, and other organizations. Other linkages include the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, our local elected officials as well as those at state and federal levels, all of whom are providing support.

We expect to become the clearing house for veteran’s services and activities in and around the county. Our focus will be on all county veterans, approximately 12,000-plus family members living here in Carroll County. We intend to provide case management and blended services to our veterans and their family members who are in need.

Our objectives are: 1. To refurbish and repurpose the old USAR buildings and grounds; 2. Provide and coordinate rehabilitative and transitional services to veterans and their family members; 3. Coordinate services related to housing, transportation, parenting skills, physical and mental health care; 4. Offer shelter to veterans and their family members when indicated; 5. Coordinate job training and access to educational programs, local internships, mentoring and volunteer opportunities; and 6. Promote emotional and social well-being and to serve as advocates for the needs of those who sacrificed so much and served our nation.

Our “to-do” list: Await final Health and Human Services approval to re-deed the property as a “mixed-use” facility, sign alease with county government, conduct environmental survey to identify any hazardous materials and mitigate any findings, capital campaign kick-off, select an architect and begin construction and, finally open our doors by fall 2020.

Frank Valenti is the president of the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project. For more information about CCVIP, call 410-871-1478 ext. 143 or visit www.carrollcountyvip.org.

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