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Veterans housing project delayed due to vandalism

LEWISTON (WGME) -- A veterans housing project is off track by two months and the CEO says its partly because vandals caused more than $150,000 in damage.

CEO of Veterans Inc. Vincent Perrone says it's happened several times - workers show up to find windows smashed and the walls spray painted inside the old St. Josephs School on Main Street.

It was scheduled to open in August but now won't be ready until November.

Arthur Roy is a Vietnam veteran who knows what its like to return home from war and struggle with finding a stable job and a place to call home.

You have to try to adjust and it's not easy, he said.

Roy says there was no affordable housing specifically for veterans in Lewiston until the Worcester-based organization purchased the school to transform it into apartments.

That's really, really super when you think about it, Roy said.

But because of the vandalsim, the building won't be ready until November.

Its double labor, double equipment, double supplies, and then cleanup for the vandalism, Perrone said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

But Perrone says there's good news here too.

The original plan called for 11 units with two veterans to each apartment.But Veterans Inc. raised enough money to turn the building into 20 one bedroom efficiencies.

Roy says that kind of privacy is priceless.

"A lot of veterans have problems, post traumatic stress and things like that, so sometimes it's better for them to be alone," he said.

Roy admits he's frustrated about the setback, but says this project is well worth the wait.

Ill tell you, if that place works out good, thats going to open the door and well probably get more, he said.

Perrone says they dont know exactly who smashed the windows but that on a separate occasion, workers caught up with three teenagers hanging out inside the building.

Lewiston Police confirm that on July 15th, three teens were charged with criminal trespassing and released to their parents.

Veterans Inc. hasn't yet started accepting applications for the efficiencies. If you want to learn more, go to veteransinc.org.