Fayette County

Lexington homeless veterans program will close June 30

A longtime Lexington program that provides drug treatment for homeless veterans will close its doors on June 30.

Volunteers of America, a nonprofit, confirmed last week that its Veterans Transitional Treatment Program currently housed in a building at Eastern State Hospital will close June 30. The 21 veterans in that program will be transferred to other programs, said Doug Scofield, a spokesman for Volunteers of America.

The program was once located at the Lexington Veterans Administration Medical Center. Last year it moved to Eastern State, which drove up operational costs. That transitional unit had fewer beds, which meant fewer veterans served and less income, Scofield said. The program is paid for through the Veterans Administration.

Volunteers of America has sought other funding to run the transitional housing program that also provides much-needed recovery and addiction treatment but was unsuccessful, Scofield said.

“We are currently working with potential partners to find housing options for all of our clients,” Scofield said. Volunteers of America has two other Lexington-based programs that serve veterans that may be able to serve the 21 patients in the program.

The program, which began in 2004, has served more than 1,000 veterans to date.

Charlie Lanter, director of grants and special programs for the city of Lexington, said losing those inpatient drug treatment beds is a blow. The city believes the 21 people in that program will be able to find housing.

“Any time you lose capacity to serve people in need — especially veterans — it’s concerning,” Lanter said. “We have made a lot of progress in reducing homelesnsess among veterans almost to the point of eliminating it.”

Lanter said the city is working with Volunteers of America to make sure patients in the program will have a place to go after June 30.

“I think we have a lot of good options for permanent housing for veterans,” Lanter said. “The concern is losing that recovery program. If you can’t get treatment for substance abuse problems, there is a chance you will not be successful in permanent housing.”

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall