Housing Unit at Jail Aims to Help Veterans

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - The Erie County Holding Center has about 22 veterans on any given day.

Now a new housing unit is in place at the jail for those who served our country.

Military flags flight high in the special housing unit.

Deputy Ronald Overturf, with the Erie County Sheriff's Office, is a veteran himself. "I came home and I'm okay, but to see so many that came home and are not, it's tough," Overturf says.''

Judge Robert Russell started up the Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court, the first of its kind nationwide, about five years ago. He still pushes for more veterans services.

"We can be able to facilitate services being brought in, to help them best get stable and return back to productive citizens," Judge Russell says.

Sheriff Tim Howard says he has been wanting to help Russell's efforts for several years.

"They got lost for a variety of reasons. And to help them get home, this is the end result," Howard adds.

The housing unit will hold 28 beds, and will serve as a place for veterans who have run into trouble with the law to lean on each other and get back on the right path.

Veterans who choose to stay in the housing unit will receive help recovering from PTSD as well as substance and alcohol abuse. They will also receive help from the VA system.

Many deputies who have served in the military are even asking to work in the housing unit.

"Being a soldier, I know that we leaned on each other over there. I think that this will be a good thing," Overturf says.

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