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‘It’s the perfect place’: Volunteers create housing for homeless veterans

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the hero center housing for veterans
Future home of the Hero Center, a veterans housing facility in Stoughton

STOUGHTON (WKOW) -- Painter Kevin Hintz hasn't seen much work during the pandemic, so he's putting his talent to use as a volunteer.

"I just like helping out," he said. "A lot of people talk about doing things, but actually going out and putting in the work."

He's one of a handful of volunteers working to transform an old building into a home for veterans in need, all in a month's time.

It's personal for Hintz, who has family in the military and was homeless himself when he was younger.

"I've seen it all my life and I've been homeless," he told 27 News. "Places like this, for housing, for something like this to go up, it's huge."

Kelly LeGrand came up with the idea for the housing facility after coming across the unused building in rural Stoughton. She's calling it the Hero Center.

"It's so important that we get anyone and everyone off the streets. There's no reason why a building should be sitting vacant," she said.

An investor bought it after it sat empty for two years and she has now signed a five-year lease to turn it into a housing facility, specifically for veterans.

"So many suffer from PTSD that shelter is not an option for many of them, so you find them living in tents and encampments around the city," LeGrand said. "Because this property is so rural, it's the perfect place for someone to come isolate and it's their own."

Once renovated, it will be big enough to house 12 veterans and two families. But it needs a lot of work before the goal opening date of January 1. The volunteers and crews donating services started just last week.

"One way or another it's opening January 1. We might have crews running 24 hours a day to get it done but we will have it done by January 1," she said.

The Hero Center is coming together through the nonprofit Greater Madison Resource Center, which LeGrand runs.

If you'd like to donate or help get the facility ready to open, click here for more information on the project.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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