Glenda Rodriguez’s chance to get off the streets came four years ago when a social worker placed her at the former Fremont Gardens II apartment complex in Las Vegas. Since then, she’s paid her own rent and stayed on.
On Thursday, she watched proudly as the new owners, the Veterans Village nonprofit, cut a red ribbon in front of many Las Vegas Valley dignitaries.
“Now more people will get help,” she said, holding her chihuahua Lucky. “It’s nice here now. It’s quiet. They’re still renovating, but if there’s anything I need, I ask, and they don’t hesitate to help.”
Thursday’s ribbon cutting marked the grand opening of more than 50 units in what is now known as Veterans Village 4. The nonprofit plans to continue renovating units as part of a new collaboration with the city that will provide housing for both veterans and clients of the city’s Courtyard complex transitioning out of homelessness.
“It’s become a place where people who are hungry, who need medical, mental health, a job … (can) walk around with their head held up high,” Veterans Village CEO Arnold Stalk said. “So you never have to feel less because you were homeless. Ever.”
Stalk called the collaboration with the city “just the beginning.”
His organization houses more than 600 individuals at its six campuses, and he said Thursday that he expects to expand beyond downtown and to other parts of Clark County.
Medical and mental health services, job placement assistance and shoes and clothing, as well as 12-step meetings, will be among other services provided.
While most of the units are for veterans and their families, the City Council voted in July to lease 10 of the newly renovated converted motel rooms and apartments for residents staying at the 24/7 outdoor Courtyard Homeless Resource Center.
The units have a kitchenette and shower, among other amenities.
Rodriguez, who is not a veteran but will be allowed to stay under the agreement, said she was especially excited that the building at 2028 Fremont St. will provide residents with free services and donated food from Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and other businesses.
The non-veteran units will cost the city about $8,250 per month. The City Council also agreed to lease 15 apartments through the Women’s Development Center at apartments scattered throughout the city at $9,600 a month.
“It’s so much more than a roof over people’s heads,” Rep. Dina Titus told the crowd of mayors, city council members and state representatives. “It’s all encompassing, to help veterans get back on their feet, back into the community, and back to a normal life.”