RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - A local man is trying to open up a shelter for veterans who, like him, need help getting back on their feet as they figure out life after the military.
But not everyone is on board with the idea.
In fact, one man is asking the city of Rio Rancho to deny the proposal. He says even though he loves and respects veterans, he does not think his neighborhood is the place for a veterans shelter.
Rio Rancho city councilors are scheduled to consider the issue at their meeting Wednesday night.
"Everything in here has been donated," Shane D'Onofrio said as he showed KRQE News 13 the building he hopes to officially open up as a shelter.
The space already exists. It is a huge building that sits behind D'Onofrio's home in an upscale, rural Rio Rancho neighborhood.
As a veteran himself, D'Onofrio founded What Would U Give, a group supporting local veterans reintegrating into society.
"Get them back on their feet. Get them all the education, all the tools they need to be productive citizens of the United States of America," he said.
But it has not been easy.
A letter from neighbors Matthew and Kathryn Hein explains why they are against D'Onofrio's plan.
"It fails to address significant issues like the impact on property values and other consequential impacts to the area such as traffic safety," they wrote.
They also wrote that it will change the character of the neighborhood and that they know of at least one neighbor who's sold their property because of it.
D'Onofrio doesn't buy it.
"You don't even know it's here," he said. "When you drive up to it, most of the people drive right by us. Don't even know it's here, and it's a huge building."
D'Onofrio also said there wouldn't be more than 10 people living here at a time, and they will all have to go through an application process that includes an extensive background check.
"We do that to make sure of the safety. I mean... I live right there," he said as he pointed to his house right in front of the WWUG building.
The Rio Rancho Planning and Zoning Board approved D'Onofrio's proposal to change the property from a residential estate to a special-use property.
He is hoping city councilors will do the same Wednesday night at their meeting at 6:30 p.m.
KRQE tried to reach the neighbor who wrote the letter against the veterans shelter. He has not returned our call, and we are told he is out of town.
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