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Carmichael Times

Mission Accomplished

Oct 14, 2021 12:00AM ● By By Paul Scholl

Garrett Gatewood cuts the ribbon to signal the grand opening of Mather Veterans Village, surrounded by the project's many supporters and local dignitaries. Photo by Paul Scholl

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - There was a slight chill in the air, and a breeze signaling an obvious and much wanted change in seasons. Symbolic in its own way on this day of dedication, changes were being made to fully and properly support those local brave men and women who have served our nation but had fallen on harder times. They are now in a season of hope and care.

October 12, 2021 signaled the day of dedication and a “Mission Accomplished” for Mather Veterans Village in Rancho Cordova.

With an estimated 75,000 veterans living in Sacramento County, the area has the second highest percentage of unsheltered, homeless veterans in California counties.

Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California, served as Master of Ceremonies for this dedication of one of the most significant projects to be completed in the region in many years.

Housing to support the unique needs of homeless and disabled veterans was virtually non-existent until Mather Veterans Village went from idea to reality.

Bob McGarvey, former Mayor and City Councilmember of Rancho Cordova, said, ”We want to be an example of what others can do.”

Bob met with Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli back in 2008 with the vision of Veterans Village. Bob garnered Don’s support from Sacramento County, and with his help, the first phase groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2014.

The first 50 permanent supportive housing units in Phase 1 were completed in 2016 and are fully occupied by formerly homeless and disabled veterans and their families.

Mather Veterans Village is the first permanent supportive housing development for homeless and disabled veterans in the Sacramento region.

Garrett Gatewood, Mayor of Rancho Cordova, said in his speech “Veterans Village is Rancho Cordova’s vision of how to treat our veterans.”

The location couldn’t have been more perfect than the City of Rancho Cordova. This community values its veterans, having been the site of an active air force base. Many who served decided to establish roots in Rancho Cordova, and approximately 5,000 veterans continue to call it home.

Matt Ceccato, Chief of staff for Congressman Ami Bera (who could not attend), gave a short, but riveting speech on his personal experience of serving in Iraq and the great importance of having such a facility available for his fellow servicemembers.

Mather Veterans Village is on the site of the former base, providing a familiar setting to veterans with access to the nearby VA Hospital. The hospital and its services are actually within walking distance from the newly completed housing complex. A comprehensive support network ensures residents have a healing environment, support from other veterans and job training to re-integrate them into the workforce.

Chris Johnson, President and CEO of Nation’s Finest, said, when speaking of their programs to support veterans in need, “Guiding them home is what we do”.

Homeless and disabled veterans now have more places to call home with the completion of the final phases of Mather Veterans Village.

John Kauh, Managing Director for Wells Fargo Bank, the leading financial partner for the project said, “We are incredibly proud to be a part of this.”

At the event attendees and media met the veterans who live there and learned about their challenges and triumphs, and enjoyed an insider’s look into the village itself by touring the grounds.

Don Harper, Commander of Legion Post 861, thanked many local military support organizations. He also outlined and gave thanks for the good people of Rancho Cordova who helped with their fundraising efforts to provide new televisions and home furnishing much needed by the veterans who found housing at Mather Veterans Village.

The village offers 100 permanent supportive apartments and 47 units of transitional housing, as well as a rich menu of supportive services.

Thank a veteran today.

Information also provided by the City of Rancho Cordova