Alyce Knaflich, founder of Aura Home, has made her life’s mission to ensure women veterans receive the care and help they need.
The nonprofit recently purchased property on Meadowbrook Terrace in Hendersonville. The hope is to house between 12 and 15 women at no cost to the veterans. If everything goes according to plan, the women can start moving in this September.
“We’ve had tremendous support from the community here in Henderson County,” she said.
Aura Home, which became a nonprofit in November 2014, assists women veterans in Buncombe, Henderson and Haywood counties.
When the nonprofit first looked at the house, the price was around $75,000. Knaflich quickly brainstormed ways to raise money, which included a GoFundMe page. The price then dropped to $60,000, but the Aura Home still didn’t have the money needed to purchase the property.
After the sellers found out the mission of Aura Home and what they wanted to use the home, for the price dropped again — this time to $10,000.
“It was just amazing what they did,” Knaflich said.
With the money in the bank, Knaflich and her team quickly made the jump. Even more good news — at the closing of the sale, the real estate agent handed Knaflich a check for $5,000.
The building is around 7,740 square feet, with a several bedrooms, bathrooms, a large kitchen and dining room area and space for activities.
Knaflich walked through the halls of the property Friday, envisioning an exercise room in one place and space for entertainment options like a television and games in another. The hope is that the home can also be a place for children, but those details are still being worked out.
The property needs a great deal of work, around $200,000, according to Knaflich’s estimate. A new roof, electrical system and replaced foundation are critically needed.
The building was once an assisted living facility and has sat vacant for around four years. While it was empty, the building was vandalized, Knaflich said. It was also recently robbed of a WiFi system installed in the office space, which Knaflich estimates was worth $3,000 to $4,000.
The cleanup process will be lengthy, but volunteers are already on the job. Loads of dressers and beds were left behind, so no donations are needed for furniture.
Those interested in donating to the cause can make checks out to Aura Home Women Vets and mail to 50 S. French Broad Ave. Ste. 203, Asheville, NC 28801. The GoFundMe page can be found at www.GoFundMe.com/2ak9uqs
A stigma, and a growing need
Women veterans are often left out because they don’t fit the typical idea of a veteran, Knaflich said. Not only are they often forgotten, but they can experience a lack of respect for their service.
Women make up 8 percent of the total veteran population and 14.6 percent of the active duty military, according to the National Coalition for Homeless…