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VA submits refined plans for transitional home at center of dispute

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A refined proposal from the Tomah VA will answer questions that some have had about a proposed transitional home for veterans in La Crosse.

Dave and Barb Erickson (pictured above at an October meeting at city hall) want to donate their 7,000-square-foot home at 3120 Farnam Street to the VA, so that the agency can set up the home for veterans who are transitioning into living on their own.

The proposal has been controversial because of the neighborhood in which it is located which is entirely residential.

Neighbors of the home have widely panned the idea, expressing concerns about privacy, safety and additional traffic but, also, arguing the facility would decrease property values in the area.

In October, many expressed frustration with the VA for not having a clearer vision of how the home would be run.

New documents submitted to the city say the home would house eight veterans, instead of the 10 originally proposed. They would stay six to 12 months.

The facility would also have full-time staff members on hand. There would be strict prohibitions on drug and alcohol use, as well as overnight guests.

Employment, while living at the home, is also required.

Part of those documents say a screening process will make sure veterans are “medically and mentally stable.”

The agency calls the home “the final step toward independent living.”

City committees begin to review the proposal at meetings this week. It’s likely city staff will recommend delaying an action, until the new plans for the home can be reviewed.

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