Local shelter denied VA funding again, moving forward to help veterans anyway

Updated: Friday, August 22 2014, 09:21 PM MDT
Local shelter denied VA funding again, moving forward to help veterans anyway story image
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- Casa Vida De Salud, a recovery shelter in central El Paso hoping to extend services to homeless veterans, is once again denied funding by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It looks like we're never going to be able to work with the VA as VA contractors for whatever reason, and that's okay," said Ben Bass, the executive director of the Recovery Alliance.

Bass has come to terms with the fact that the VA will likely never award them grant money after the recovery shelter was denied funding for the second time in just two years.

In May, VA inspectors found 30 areas around the shelter in need of improvement.

"We rectified all of those 30 items," Bass said.

Unfortunately, their efforts weren't enough.The VA came back and did a second inspection and found the shelter non-compliant in nine areas, including its fire-alarm system.

"The state fire marshal and the city fire department both passed and approved," Bass said.

But Bass' goal of taking homeless vets off of El Paso streets wasn't completely crushed. 

"We're going to provide these services anyway. This is something that has to happen," Bass said.

After hearing Casa Vida's story, an El Paso veteran walked into Bass' office.

"He and his wife decided if the VA weren't going to help the local veterans, then, they were," Bass said.

Bass told KFOX14 the couple wants to stay low key but says now that they're in a position to give back, they want to do all they can.

"It's going to be a group of veterans pooling their resources to help these guys, and with any luck, we'll be able to take half the homeless veterans off the street," Bass said.

KFOX14 reached out to the VA but did not receive a response.Local shelter denied VA funding again, moving forward to help veterans anyway
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