“Beyond dreams!” That is how Marine Corps Veteran Rickey Ginn described his newly renovated transitional residence apartment at the Tuscaloosa VA.

Man cutting a lemon

“I can’t say enough about the staff and how helpful they have been in my recovery.”

Ginn completed the inpatient residential treatment program (RRTP) but wasn’t quite ready to live independently in the community. The Compensated Work Therapy-Transitional Residence Program (CWT-TR) was the perfect next step for him in his recovery.

The CWT-TR program in Tuscaloosa is a 12-bed residential program designed to provide a safe, supportive, therapeutic environment for Veterans living with substance abuse disorders, psychiatric problems, homelessness or vocational deficits.

Individual plan helps prepare for independent living

Veterans develop an individualized treatment plan in conjunction with their case manager, typically staying in CWT-TR for 6-9 months while working, saving money and preparing for more independent living.

The 12 beds were previously located in two historic homes on the campus dating back to 1932 when the main facility was constructed. As with any older structure, repairs and updates were a constant concern, along with maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the Veterans.

“COVID presented the perfect opportunity for us to renovate the unused space in one of our attached buildings,” said Dr. Andrew Oakland, RRTP manager. “We had already moved Veterans who were living in the old TR houses into the medical center due to COVID precautions. We thought ‘What better time than now?’ to take time to complete the renovation.”

“It’s the freedom that matters.”

The new apartments now offer a truer representation of that “next step” of reintegration into the community. They have spacious rooms, well-equipped kitchens, and a fresh, modern aesthetic.

Ginn is one of the first Veterans to move into the new apartments. He is overwhelmed by the quality that has gone into making them feel like home. “I rate them a 5-star or A+! But more than that, it’s the freedom that matters. It’s the little things you don’t realize you miss, like being able to cook a burger when I want one or not stand in line to wash my laundry. I also can’t say enough about the CWT-TR staff and how helpful they have been in my recovery.”

The CWT-TR staff at Tuscaloosa will begin admitting two to three Veterans a week until the apartments are filled. The ultimate goal is helping Veterans transition to full-independence so that they can live productively in their local communities.


April Jones is the interim public affairs officer and innovation specialist at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. Photos courtesy Mike Harris, visual information specialist.

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5 Comments

  1. Sergeant Traveler June 10, 2021 at 12:43 am

    That program is overdue. Finally, maybe it will get even better. On a tangible topic, I think it stinks that the gov. replaces the old BRICK base housing with vinyl siding homes. This has taken place on a lot if not all military housing. They should have replaced the old brick houses with NEW ALL BRICK houses and not a anything less. I remember seeing those brick homes at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC. Those homes had lasted I guess 50 years or so. Probably were remodeled several times. But they withstood the hurricanes, extreme heat, and maintained the intended appearance of the brick. The military families deserve it 100%. The USA gives away billions of $$ to countries that are even considered dangerous, such as Pakistan, and the list goes on. The military sacrifices so much, yet the public relations in many of gov. depts. says “…and they’re gonna get the best.” The best doesn’t have to be a 4000 sq. ft. home, but it should be made out of US manufactured brick/stone.
    Now, another lament – I remember when the military ran the billeting office for transient military members. The retirees were instrumental with the influence for those amenities, i.e. the ‘space available travelers’. ‘Space A’ was definitely one of the reasons i enjoyed as a benefit. But, it was affordable. Now, civilians have taken it over, and many locations are so costly, many a retirees couldn’t afford to stay there on R&R. Government has their place, and private sector has their place yet we know that the private sector normally do perform a job cheaper than the government. I know the gov. subsidized those less expensive rates back then, but I think we’re worth it. I had always looked forward to traveling via ‘Space A’, and staying on base whenever possible. I remember in 1984 at Eglin AFB, Fl, some on base rooms were $4.oo. Yeah, then the cost started going up faster, then exponentially faster over the years. Well, looks like our travel plans when kaput!

  2. August June 9, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Another article where the VA releases a veteran’s medical records to the world.

  3. Charles Roberts June 8, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Looks like a process that needs to be expanded. I cringe when I see an apartment building torn down and something prettier is built instead. Programs like this could be a boon for homeless veterans.

  4. Veteran(comb) June 7, 2021 at 12:03 am

    It’s so good!and at the same time hearing such positive affirmations and rescue stories as the top!one so many of my fellow live could have been saved from many critical situations of life should there had been the resources in the care of VHACs out patient readjustments makes me say!Hummm

    • Veteran(comb) June 7, 2021 at 12:11 am

      The most recent post I responded unto it seemed my Spell check had been off!With resources and adjustment within the out patient and out reach so!so ! Many of my fellows ‘lives’ would and could have changed for the better sometimes a hand does much more than a hand out too some nonprofit!although some have served Veterans Well!And some made issues much worse!thanks for your serervices too my Bothers Ann Sisters We hold the line!

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