54°F
Sponsored by

Grand Re-Opening of CNY Veterans Outreach Center

The Central New York Veterans Outreach Center in Utica held its grand re-opening on this very fitting day. The center received a 430-thousand-dollar grant this summer and since then they've been putting that money to work.
The Central New York Veterans Outreach Center in Utica held its grand re-opening on this very fitting day. The center received a 430-thousand-dollar grant this summer and since then they've been putting that money to work. The outreach center helps vets find employment, affordable housing, and education. It's housed in the former YMCA of Utica and has undergone a huge transformation thanks to its leader, an army veteran. When Vincent Scalese returned from serving in the army in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he opened the Veterans Outreach Center in the heart of Utica.
"It's important because when veterans are in need they need somewhere to go and someplace for them specifically and that's what this place is," he said.
Serving his country is a family tradition--both his brother and father have done so.
"When he started this center this place was in shambles and he built it up to what it is today, I'm so proud of him that I can't express how proud I am of my son," said his father, Benjamin Scalese.
He remembers when, at one point, both his sons were away serving in Iraq.
"I didn't know how bad it was back here waiting and wondering every day when you're going to hear from them and when they're going to call, and their mother it put her through a lot," he said.
This hardship on families and the struggle veterans face upon returning to civilian life is where the Outreach Center comes in. It provides education, housing, food, and clothing to homeless and at-risk vets--complete with a new classroom and computer lab, food pantry, and café. And the renovations aren't going unnoticed by those who will benefit.
"Somebody put in a lot of work here, it feels very comfortable coming down here and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the services," said Navy veteran, Larry Hajdasz.
But Scalese wants to be able to provide even more. Right now when a homeless vet needs emergency shelter, the center provides a hotel room, but by Veterans Day next year that could be a different story.
"Instead of spending those funds, we'll have the emergency shelter housing and transitional housing here on site," he said.
Scalese hopes to receive enough donations to renovate the third floor of the center, creating 8 bedrooms. The café is open to the public, with all proceeds going directly to veterans services. The center is now seeking food or monetary donations for their Thanksgiving meal baskets.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus