For Veterans Day this year, local homeless veterans saw the completion of a brand new affordable apartment complex some may soon call home.
Located at 605 Willow Road in Menlo Park, the new complex offers 59 affordable studio and one-bedroom apartments, a community room, a fitness gym, laundry facilities, computer services, and an office.
Rents are set between $554 and $792 per month, or about 30 percent of tenants' income.
The housing is on the Menlo Park Veterans Affairs campus, which includes health care facilities for veterans.
According to Darci Palmer, project manager for Core Affordable Housing, "The veterans depend on VAPA health care which is really state-of-the-art in this region but lack of housing availability undermines health outcomes."
The apartments will not operate as shelters, but will offer one-year leases, similar to a private apartment complex, except the priority and mission is to house veterans, she explained.
Constructing more affordable housing for veterans has been part of an ongoing national initiative to end veteran homelessness, Ms. Palmer said. Because of the extremely high housing costs in the Bay Area, veterans with fixed incomes, disabilities, and in some cases, decent wages, cannot afford to live in the area, which makes it a challenge for veterans receive ongoing treatment at VA Palo Alto.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one 2014 homeless count estimated that on any given night, there are 926 homeless veterans in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties combined, and nearly 70 percent of homeless veterans in the same two counties reported having at least one debilitating disability, including post traumatic stress disorder, depression, physical disabilities, or other mental illness, often a result of their military service.
The complex, Ms. Palmer said, will be owned and managed by Core Affordable Housing and EAH Housing. On-site case management, plus educational and wellness activities, will be offered by HomeFirst of Santa Clara County.
Funding for the project came from wide network of government and nonprofit sources, including VA Palo Alto, which contributed the land and about 10 percent of the development's financing. Permanent long-term funding came from the federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credit Programs, National Equity Fund, the city of Menlo Park, and San Mateo County.
Construction costs were covered by Silicon Valley Bank, HEART of San Mateo County, Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Northrop Grumman, and the MetLife Foundation.
The project averaged a cost of $300,000 per unit, with construction costs averaging $200,000 per unit, and an extra $100,000 on average for design, fees, interest and other costs, said Ms. Palmer.
Tenants are expected to move in mid-December.
Those interested in helping to furnish the housing for new residents are invited to sponsor or buy new sheets, linens, and kitchen supplies such as pots and pans. People should contact EAH's Susan Dutton firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.