photo Todd Clarke


El Paso Ready to Open Advanced Veterans Center for Homeless Support

A new center aimed to support homeless veterans is preparing to open in Downtown El Paso.

The center is the Veterans Transitional Living Center located at 1217 Magoffin Avenue and will replace the current veterans center at 818 Myrtle.

John Martin, the deputy director of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless said the facility cost over $3,000,000 and took 14 months to build.

Martin added they received $1,000,000 from Veterans Affairs and the remainder was collected through community and partner donations.

“This is a 20-bed facility, three stories tall and we will move the individuals here probably in mid-march, the only thing we’re waiting for is some furniture that was kindly donated to us by the church of Latter Day Saints,” said Martin.

While the design of the new center may look similar to the old center, Martin said one of the major differences is that each bedroom comes with its own bathroom which allows them to expand who they provide services to.

“One of the positives that will result from that is we can now work with a co-ed population, so we will soon be asking the VA to give us permission to work with female veterans in addition to male veterans,” said Martin.

Martin added the facility will also provide intensive case management services to veterans on an individual basis.

“This is that transitional component, which is meant to be the component between the shelter and permanent housing and we’ve had an incredible success rate. Over 80% of veterans that have come through our current Veteran transitional living center now have housing on their own.”

Veterans will have the opportunity to stay at the center for up to two years, although Martin said most of them only stay three to five months.

Jimmy Anchondo is a veteran who’s been living at the center on Myrtle for about two years.

He shared how he became homeless before eventually finding his way to the center.

“My ex-wife, now she died, she went with another guy after that I didn’t care.”

Anchondo said he lived as a nomad for 20 years and is thankful for the help he’s received from the Veterans Transitional Living Center.

“I’m grateful for these people, they treat me well and everything so I don’t have complaints about them.”

Martin added they are in need of donations for the new center on Magoffin such as linens, toiletries and bedding.

Donations can be delivered to the Opportunity Center for the Homeless located at 1208 Myrtle Avenue.

Source: “El Paso Ready to Open Advanced Veterans Center for Homeless Support