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Lawton’s Veterans Resource Center back on track with Renovations

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:16 AM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Renovations at Lawton’s Veterans Resource Center are expected to start later this month according to Lawton Housing Authority Director of Continuum of Care, Jervis Jackson.

Jackson said the dream of creating a homeless shelter and resource center for veterans began in 2012 -- but was stalled by a lack of funding and then again when COVID 19 interrupted fundraising efforts.

The project was put back on track just recently when it received grants from both the City Planning Commission and the McMahon Foundation which totaled close to $800 thousand dollars.

In 2012 Jackson and a handful of nonprofit leaders from across the community performed a random moment in time count.

They wanted to know how many veterans were homeless in Lawton at any given moment of time.

Their findings were startling - 105 veterans, homeless, living on city streets, under bridges or in cars. Jackson and his colleagues set out to find a solution and came up with the idea of a Veterans Resource Center.

”One plan, one resource, one desire, one goal, everyone coming together to do the same thing and that is simply not to provide a hand out but a hand up for a group of people who have done so much for this country,” Jackson said.

He said the resource center, which will be housed at Lawton’s old Armed Services YMCA near SW B Ave and Fourth Street, will have 11 rooms, five for women, five for men and one room for a family.

Inside, remnants of the buildings history remain-a theater that was used when the building served as a USO from 1942 until World War II and stickers on walls that amused the children of military men and women when the building was used as a YMCA for the Armed Services.

The buildings next chapter, Jackson said, will be to serve homeless veterans with shelter, food and resources.

”And then now it will serve as a safe haven of sorts, for veterans in need so that they can come here and this be their one stop shop in their reintegration into normalcy if there is such a thing. So in a sense, it’s come full circle. it really has,” Jackson said.

Renovations to the building will begin this month with a goal to open by September 11th, Jackson said. He’s hoping to decorate the walls of the building with art made by veterans or members of the armed services and is asking that anyone who wishes to donate such art contact him at 580-353-7392.

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