When the Santa Clarita Veteran Services Collaborative met in the middle of March to announce the location of their new Veterans Center at the Newhall American Legion, they said they were ready to set up shop by the first of May.
Members of the Legion, however, did not vote to approve the center until May 4.
American Legion Commander Greg Nutter said the group voted unanimously in favor of the center, but hadn’t done so until Thursday night.
“It was a communication problem from the Legion,” Nutter said. “We came to the agreement that we couldn’t possibly imagine people wouldn’t want to do this.”
According to Nutter, a group of Legion members who did not go to previous meetings between the Veteran Services Collaborative and the American Legion opposed the center because they said they were not informed. These people were invited to the meetings but chose not to come, he said.
“Everyone that took the time to come to the meetings agreed and said yes,” he said. “We had trouble convincing them, but everybody that was hesitant to do this voted in favor.”
Elliott Wolfe, organizer for the collaborative which meets at College of the Canyons, said there was an agreement between some of the collaborative’s board members and a few Legion members before the March announcement.
“It was understood that it would be published to community,” Wolfe said. “A few people decided they didn’t like it and it caused a whole lot of animosity in the delay of finalizing the deal.”
Currently, the collaborative now hopes to open the center in the middle of May.
The center is anticipated to be open from Monday through Friday from 12 to 7 p.m. for activities and until 8 p.m. for referrals for services.
Wolfe said the center will connect veterans with counseling, legal assistance, housing, education, transportation, medical and dental services.
Additionally, there will be refreshments, a pool table, a bar and internet access.
“This is a great thing for the entire community,” Wolfe said.
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