New homeless veterans clinic opens in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Veterans across the Inland Northwest will now have a new one-stop shop for healthcare, employment and housing. The Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center opened its new Healthcare for Homeless Veterans clinic Monday.

Program manager Shannon Dunkin said the main goal is to help those who served our country get back up on their feet -- which is something the medical center tried to do in years past, but it outgrew its old location on East Second and Wall.

Now, after a $1 million renovation, the center's new clinic has opened its doors on 504 East Second Avenue in Spokane. At its previous location, Dunkin said the center was able to help 1,500 to 1,700 veterans a year. She, along with Vietnam veteran Michael Zorn, are hopeful the clinic will help more veterans find housing and jobs.

"This building will hopefully create a safe space where people feel comfortable coming here, because as a veteran who has been injured by war, safety is their number one priority," Zorn said.

Zorn said after serving in Vietnam, he never thought he'd be homeless. He returned home and started working, but an injury to his arm left him unable to work and pay rent. He became homeless and sought help at a VA medical center in Washington and things started to turn around.

Zorn will help veterans in the same position at this new clinic.

Dunkin said the clinic is mainly focused on finding temporary and permanent housing for veterans in Spokane and Couer d'Alene. She said the clinic will be staffed with employees who will be able to work on housing cases with veterans. Aside from that, Dunkin said employees will also be able to fulfill veteran's healthcare needs.

"We offer medical care, mental health care, psychiatric follow up, job placement, that sort of thing, to help stabilize folks once they actually do get in to housing as well," Dunkin said.

The clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dunkin said appointments are not needed.

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