Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:07AM - 843 Views
Lindsay Craven
Staff Writer

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After some revisions and negotiation, Sharon Lewis, owner of Total Companion Care, hopes to open a veterans home and assisted living facility in Yadkinville.

In November of 2012 The Yadkin Ripple reported on a proposed veterans transitional home that was turned down by the town board due to zoning restrictions. Nearly five months later the facility has made some changes and is licensed by the state with hopes to open later this month.

Sharon Lewis, owner and operator of Total Companion Care in Winston-Salem, took on the task of starting a facility to assist homeless veterans in Yadkin County and nearby surrounding areas.

Her initial plan was to create a transitional housing option at 633 W. Main St. in Yadkinville for homeless veterans referred by Veteran’s Affairs. This required a vote by town commissioners to change the location’s zoning district from Residential-Office (R-O) to Highway Business (B-2).

"The town didn’t approve it for the veterans’ transitional housing," said Lewis. "We had to rename the facility to a multi-unit assisted living facility because it is not zoned for transitional housing."

The housing facility will still serve veterans but will no longer be a transitional facility and will now be a for-profit organization.

"There are some differences from the original plan for the housing," Lewis said. "It will be a for-profit business, and it’s more assisted living versus transitional housing. This means they will come to the facility and they can call it home."

Many residents initially raised concerns that the facility would be putting Yadkinville residents at risk by allowing clients with psychological and physical issues wonder the streets of the town. Lewis said that this will still not be an issue.

Residents at the facility will still have to check out with staff before they leave the property," Lewis said. "There will also be security staff on site during the day. They will have to be in the evening by 8 p.m. and they will need to be signed out of the facility by a family member or VA staff in order to leave."

Lewis has received Multiunit Assisted Housing license from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. According to Lewis the town has seen the license.

Yadkinville Town Manager Christopher Ong said that the town has not yet reviewed the facility's proposed changes and that another zoning board hearing must be conducted before the town will authorize the facility.

Lewis said that although the facility is no longer non-profit veterans could still receive their care at no cost out of pocket through government benefits and services.

"The veteran’s benefits will pay for the service," Lewis said. "If the veterans don’t have benefits they will pay a rental fee to stay at the facility."

Lewis said that the facility will also accept non-veterans and is equipped to house clients ages 18 and up.

She said they facility will still accept clients that are healthy and just need a home, but she will also accept recovering from alcohol or drug abuse issues that have completed a 12 step program as well as clients suffering from mental illness that are undergoing medical treatment.

Lewis said that she currently waiting for approval from the Yadkin County Health Department and Fire Marshal to officially open the facility but she hopes to have it operating by the end of April.

Ong said that an inspection by the health department and fire marshal will require the pending decision from the zoning board.

"I feel fortunate and blessed to be able to help out veterans after they’ve sacrificed their lives for our freedom and safety," said Lewis. "We’re excited that the facility will be a place veterans can call home and that we’re able to provide a needed service."

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@civitasmedia.com.

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