After 20 years of veterans traveling to the Veteran’s Center in Pocatello, the center will soon be moving its local headquarters to Idaho Falls. The new location is under construction. It is expected to be completed by spring or summer of 2021. A grand opening will be held at that time.
“A building has already been identified, and we are now at the stage of renovation. Once the renovation is completed, we will be ready to move in,” Darshan Soske, director of the Vet Center in Pocatello, told the Post Register.
Its planned location is a 3,000-foot space on the third floor of the Joseph A. Clark building at 1000 River Walk Drive in the Taylor Crossing On the River development. The center hopes to start veteran groups such as a fishing group and a running group, making the building’s location along the river and greenbelt ideal.
“The Vet Center has been working on a possible relocation for a few years,” Soske said. “During this time we have been analyzing data related to where veterans are living and the growth in East Idaho. We conducted a survey of our clients and held a town hall meeting to discuss the options.”
The Vet Center’s data revealed how necessary a center was in Idaho Falls. Veterans not living in Pocatello do have access to remote services and there is a community access point in Idaho Falls. But with veterans using the Pocatello services from as far away as Montana, it made sense to move the headquarters further north.
“The Vet Center providers services to a large catchment area which goes all the way to the Montana border to include Salmon, it includes Power County to the west, it goes south to the Utah border, and the Wyoming border on the east,” Soske said. “We also help provide services to three adjacent counties in Wyoming. There is also a large growing veteran population in the northern part of East Idaho. By relocating the brick-and-mortar building of the Vet Center to Idaho Falls, it positions us more geographically centered so that we can better served our entire catchment area.”
The primary mission of the Vet Center is to provide mental health counseling and readjustment counseling to veterans and their families.
“We also help veterans navigate the VA system, provide referrals when needed and work to help provide social support,” Soske said. “We provide individual, couples, family and group counseling. We focus on helping veterans who have deployed or experienced military sexual trauma (MST); however, there are many different ways people may be eligible for our services.”
Its services are free to veterans and their families, since it is funded by Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans for not need to be enrolled in the VA system to go to the Vet Center
To find out if you are eligible for Vet Center services, call 208-232-0316. Until the opening of the Idaho Falls location, there will be a community access point at the Center of Hope at 530 E. Anderson St. in Idaho Falls.