On a recent Tuesday, residents at Patriot Place Apartments gathered on the facility’s third floor for arts and crafts, accompanied by emotional support dogs.
On Clyda Byrd-Lopez’s lap was a white Maltese named Jazzy in a green sweater, perched on her front paws as her owner stained wood.
On the floor, Amy, a Beagle mix, sniffed each of the residents, who had all moved into the apartment building off Pecos and Flamingo roads by the end of last year.
Their new homes are owned by Accessible Space Inc. The Las Vegas-based nonprofit organization that provides housing for adults with disabilities opened Patriot Place Apartments on July 28, after 14 months of construction.
Thirteen furnished apartments were set aside for low-income veterans with disabilities who are facing the challenges of homelessness.
After receiving thousands of applications, Patriot Place filled its 50 apartments quickly.
Roughly 2,000 people remain on the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority’s waiting list for the apartments, said Devin Vander Schaaf, marketing coordinator for Accessible Space.
The long list is one reason the organization will break ground in July on Allegiance Apartments, off South Mojave Road and the Pecos-McLeod Interconnect, also with 25 units for low-income veterans.
Those 25 apartments are funded by vouchers provided by the Regional Housing Authority and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program.
In the crafts room once a week, veterans create functional art given to them by the Help Heal Veterans organization, which provides free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to veterans.
“It’s great therapy,” William Byrant, 57, said. “Except when you can’t get it right. Then it’s not.”
Debbie Lara, an Army veteran, grabbed a bag of crafts to make yellow moccasins. Michele Marshall, a Marine Corps veteran, sanded wood to make a dinner tray. Bryant built a pen with a metal rifle engraved on the side.
Marshall had been homeless before, living at her friend’s home after the friend died. There was no kitchen and the bathroom barely worked, she said.
When Pariot Place called, she was told she’d got the last apartment.
“I cried,” she said.
Ron Cole, 69, said he served in Vietnam for 10 years and suffers from the effects of Agent Orange, diabetes, colon cancer, lung problems and brain cancer.
“Every day I’m here, I’m blessed,” he said.