SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – They served our country, and now, Springfield is serving them. 19 homeless veterans have a new place to live, for as long as they need. 22News got a private tour of the new Sergeant Gumersindo Gomez Veterans Campus on Cass Street in Springfield.
“As long as we have war and sick people from this war, we’re going to have homeless veterans,” said Gumersindo Gomez, Executive Director of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts.
“It’s completion of a dream. A dream that started in ’05 when we bought this piece of property here…It was a lot of drawbacks, a lot of fights, a lot of tears, but praise God it’s being done,” Gomez told 22News.
Next door to the complex, Sgt. Gomez helps thousands of veterans each year at the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center. After years of advocating for veterans, he secured 2.8 million dollars of your state tax money to create the housing facility, complete with laundry, social space and private studio apartments.
In addition to the 16 rooms, there are 3 others designed and reserved specifically for handicapped veterans. And those include special amenities such as lower light switches for easy access.
Homeless men and women who make less than $17,500 per year are eligible to live there, as long as they’re not sex offenders or have outstanding debt. A resident manager lives in the complex with the veterans.
“Some of these guys have PTSD, so we have people come in, they counsel them, a lot of them are disabled of course and we have people who come in and work with them as well,” said Ron King, the resident manager of the facility.
Veterans will be vetted through HAP Housing. A majority of the rent will be paid for by the state, with the remaining money coming from veterans’ earnings.