AUBURN -- Home to one of the largest retired military populations in King County, Auburn city officials are preparing a vacant building for use as a one-stop home for non-profit veteran assistance agencies.
Located on the north end of Auburn's game farm park, the site was acquired from the state in a land swap six months ago. Director of Administration Michael Hursh said Sunday the "pilot project" would be ready six months from now.
"We have a chance for a blueprint of something that will work in a lot of places," said Hursh, "We'll make a world of difference in the lives of so many who live on the edge."
Hursh said it's not that South King County lacks veterans assistance, it's that they're spread in so many different places. Providing one single place for non-profits to operate, he said, will help part of the community in need.
"Should other layers of government take care of it," asked Hursh rhetorically, "Absolutely. Are they great partner? They are. At the end of the day, people don't live in countries, people don't live in counties. They live in cities."
Inside the vacant building, Dean Hamlin prepared the building for renovations. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984 and said more veterans assistance is needed.
"They're struggling with addiction, they're struggling with PTSD," said Hamlin, "They're struggling with fitting in."
Though he did not know before being interviewed, he was pleased to learn the building he was working on would help his fellow vets.
Meanwhile, he's working on his own new project, getting an engineering degree.
"I want my kids to do something more," said Hamlin, "If their dad can go to school, so can they."