News

Menlo Park: New low-cost housing for homeless vets unveiled

 

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 susan.dutton@eahhousing.org for more information.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Great,

thanks to all involved.


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

$300,000/unit seems outrageously high. Should have provided twice as many units.


7 people like this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:45 pm

"seems outrageously high. Should have provided twice as many units"

based on?


Like this comment
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

really? is a registered user.

Your public benefit monies and BMR payments at work!


2 people like this
Posted by Veteran
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I wonder how many units could be built if we built one less F-16


2 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm

@Veteran: We stopped building the F-16 for the Air Force some time ago.

Now, if you used the F-35 as an example, you'd be on to something.

@Jack Hickey: And you have done something for the homeless veteran community when, exactly?


Like this comment
Posted by Veteran
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Navy, 4 years during the vietnam war, Left as an E-5, Wounded Warriors supporter, and yourself?


Like this comment
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm

Son of a veteran, and someone who sees the VA at work pretty steady. And even though the Palo Alto VA system is better than most (and this is from vets that had dealings elsewhere), it could use some help.


6 people like this
Posted by Veteran
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 20, 2015 at 8:18 pm


Several hundred million to buy and maintain one F-35, Widely regarded as a boondoggle, Estimated to be $400B
over the life of it as a part of the fleet.

Take a homeless veteran give him or her a basic place of shelter, a studio or 1 bedroom is not fancy, get them started back on a track to living life.

Please support your veterans, Pick a cause, Wounded Warriors Project is just one of many.

Makes a great Christmas gift.


1 person likes this
Posted by local
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 21, 2015 at 7:24 am

Wow - if you wee anywhee else but in Calif - say, Texas or Mkssouri, you could get a really nice house for $300,00.


11 people like this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 21, 2015 at 8:21 am

Wounded Warrior has a really great name, but spends an awful lot on itself. Still, far better than this fraud, and many like it: Web Link

- Wounded Warrior has fundraising expenses as high as 34%
- Wounded Warrior has program expenses growing at 67%

Other than that, they're reasonably transparent. Now, back to the topic.


Mr. Hickey - as an elected official, you appeared to make an unfortunate off-the-cuff remark: "seems outrageously high. Should have provided twice as many units"

based on what?


1 person likes this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 21, 2015 at 8:22 am

btw - for some reason, I really like the misspelling "Mkssouri"


7 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 21, 2015 at 8:29 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Mr. Hickey:

I suggest you do some research. Multi-family housing like apartments is not cheap to construct. That said, if the average square footage of a unit costing $300,000 is 1000 square feet, that's $300/sf cost of construction. That's cheap for multi-family in this market. Hell, that's cheap for single family home construction.

Haven't built or remodeled anything lately have you?


1 person likes this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 21, 2015 at 9:13 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I'm sure we all wish that the project could have provided housing for twice as many veterans. The veterans would likely agree.
The land(not an insignificant factor in housing costs) was donated. Developers fees should have been waived. Engineering cost of $100,000 x 59 units does not sound like economy of scale.


7 people like this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 21, 2015 at 9:20 am

"Developers fees should have been waived."

Through the magic of the Free Market?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2015 at 10:10 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Fire District waived its fees for this project.


Like this comment
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

pogo is a registered user.

I'm not saying or even suggesting that there was any money wasted on THIS project and my heartfelt kudos to those behind it. The way our country treats those who served is one of our country's major disappointments and both political parties have no excuse.

But even if there was a cost overrun or inefficiency associated with this project, I wouldn't complain a bit.


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 21, 2015 at 11:36 am

Great start! And quite a list of organizations came together to make it happen!

Are there other such projects coming along in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties?

(Know your charity of choice. Check out their #s before you give.)


42 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Mr. Hickey:

you really don't know what you're talking about.


5 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

And now you know why Jack Hickey is known as the "perpetual candidate" -- and why he can't seem to be elected to anything significant.


4 people like this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Hold on... not fair!

He's been elected three times on his platform of dissolution, and look at the strides made in that direc....

Nevermind.

Support our Vets!


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 23, 2015 at 9:50 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

What is the square footage? It's not 1,000 sq ft.
Apartment Description Web Link
Floorplans
Studio 449 - 491 sq ft $554-$748
1-bedroom 630 sq ft
Administered by VA Palo Alto

How much are property taxes?
Are utilities included.

Here's an example of nearby "unaffordable" housing:
NOTE: 600 sqft

For Rent $2,295/mo
1 bed· 1 bath· 600 sqft
Coleman Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The community is situated in a very quiet neighborhood in Menlo Park near VA Hospital.


7 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Okay, Hickey, which part about "When you're digging yourself into a hole, stop digging" is not registering with you?


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

Jack:

as I said before, you don't know what you're talking about. Multi-family housing is expensive to build. The numbers you've come up with are not out of line for this area.

Haven't built or remodeled anything lately have you?


Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:31 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Menlo voter said: "...if the average square footage of a unit costing $300,000 is 1000 square feet, that's $300/sf cost of construction. That's cheap for multi-family in this market."

The average square footage of the veteran's units is ~530 sqft. That's $566/sqft.


2 people like this
Posted by basically
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

Keep digging, keep picking, jack.

One also notes a complete lack of solutions, just some more rants.

Which may explain the political plateau...


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 24, 2015 at 10:35 am

Jack:

you're not paying attention. I'll say it again. Multi-family is expensive to build. The numbers you have come up with are not out of line for this area.

Haven't remodeled or built anything in a while have you?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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