Racine County (WISN) -- A letter from the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs released Friday announced that federal funding for Cottage 16, which houses 28 homeless veterans in Union Grove, has been eliminated and that it will close in 2018.
"As part of an ongoing evolution of federal housing programs, federal funding has been eliminated for our Veteran Housing and Recovery Programs (VHRPs) at King and Union Grove," the letter reads. "Current King and Union Grove funding ends in September 2017. If needed to ensure a smooth transition, WDVA will fund King and Union Grove thru (sic) December 2017. Although we thoroughly examined the possibility, WDVA solely funding King and Union Grove beyond 2017 is not feasible."
"We are all speechless,” said veteran Kelly Manderfield who lives in Cottage 16. “There are people here that need this place so bad. It helps out everybody."
Manderfield completed three tours Iraq with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He's coping with post-traumatic stress disorder and has been living at Cottage 16 for the past three months. He said he's working to get back on his feet and Cottage 16 is helping him do just that.
Manderfield and his fellow veterans were shocked to hear that the Veteran Housing and Recovery Program will no longer receive funding. That means his friends will have to find a new place to live.
"It’s kind of devastating because there is talk about ending homelessness for vets and now they are closing down these programs. I don't know beyond Wisconsin how far the cuts are going but it's not good," Manderfield said.
The facility in King, which is in Waupaca County, houses 19 veterans.