Long-running discussions with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase capacity for mental health services for veterans in Denton County is finally coming to fruition thanks to a collaboration of businesses, nonprofits, community groups, and government.
Organizers need an army of volunteers to paint the space in Denton this Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24 starting at 9 a.m.
The Veterans Workgroup of the Denton County Behavioral Health Leadership Team in partnership with United Way of Denton County engaged with the VA three years ago to add additional psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists in Denton County to serve veterans with PTS and other behavioral health issues.
Currently, Denton County Veterans seeking mental health services locally receive treatment at the undersized Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Denton. Thus, most local veterans travel to Dallas to receive care.
Several obstacles delayed the realization of a local treatment facility, the largest being available space.
Bob Widmer of the Low-Income Tax Clinic secured space in the building adjacent to his location and the Denton County Veterans Center at 400 S. Carroll in Denton and found donors to underwrite expenses for the next three years.
Congressman Burgess stepped in with his support to expedite red tape at the VA last May during the chamber of commerce “DC Fly In” advocacy event by arranging for United Way of Denton County leadership to meet with VA representatives to push the project forward.
The VA required structural changes to the space, but restrictions on VA funding precluded use on renovations. The Denton County Veterans Coalition took the lead to accelerate opening of the space. Volunteers began ripping out carpet and removing walls in early March. Lowe’s Home Improvement donated all construction materials and Habitat for Humanity provided a team of skilled workers to erect new walls.
Organizers are targeting late April for the project’s opening with a staff of eight to nine professionals and expect 10,000 or more visits per year to treat veterans with PTS and military trauma.
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, March 24 & 25 starting at 9 a.m.
WHERE: 400 S. Carroll, Denton
WHAT: Painting and other renovation projects
CONTACT: Colonel (Ret) Chris Martin, 678-877-6267