The Guardian House shelter for homeless female veterans should open in July, Saratoga County officials were told on Monday.
“We’re looking to close [on the purchase] this week, with women moving in in July,” said A.C. “Budd” Mazurek, executive director of the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Co. of Ballston Spa.
The 11-bed shelter will be the Capital Region’s first for women veterans, a growing number of whom are becoming homeless after experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and other symptoms from combat exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“All the information we’re getting from around the country and from Veteran’s Administration hospitals is that we’ll be able to fill it very quickly,” Mazurek told the county Veterans’ Committee at a meeting in Ballston Spa.
Mazurek said the building Rural Preservation is purchasing at 1214 Route 50 in Ballston will need some interior and exterior renovations, which is why it won’t open until July.
Some of the staff now based at Rural Preservation’s office and shelter on Church Avenue in Ballston Spa will move to the new shelter, allowing it to increase the number of beds at its male homeless veteran shelter from 10 to 13 beds.
The 3,600-square-foot, early 19th century house Rural Preservation is buying sits on 3.8 acres on Route 50 near Outlet Road.
Women make up 14 percent of the military, and they are now serving in combat, according to the military — resulting in PTSD, substance abuse problems and other issues more commonly associated with troubled male veterans.
Women veterans will be able to stay at the shelter while getting counseling, job training or other help.
The project has received a $212,432 grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Rural Preservation has raised more than $140,000 in private donations.
Also Monday, the county’s Legislative and Research Committee passed a resolution supporting the transitional housing programs operated by Shelters of Saratoga.
Those programs are threatened with elimination under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget, but county officials said cutting the transitional program could eventually put more people on public assistance.
“I think if they cut what they say they’re going to cut, it will cost taxpayers more in the end,” said committee member Joanne Yepsen, D-Saratoga Springs.
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