memorial-dayNAR’s realtor.com reported on May 25th that despite our gratitude for the almost 25 million U.S. veterans for their service, America has not done a stellar job of making sure they’re properly housed. http://www.realtor.com/news/memorial-day-housing-news/ .

According to the advocacy group Veterans Inc., more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters each night, and nearly 33% of homeless men in this country are veterans.

So, here is some good news: New developments around the country are being designed for veterans or adding veteran-friendly homes to the area. More builders and companies are offering housing assistance for vets, too. For Memorial Day, realtor.com rounded up the best of the good news.

  • The Los Angeles Times reports on Blue Butterfly Village, a project that will house 73 veterans and their families. It’s “one of the first housing projects in the country that focuses on female veterans facing homelessness.”
  • Late last week, the mayor of Madison TN, laid the last beam at Patriot Place, a 34-unit apartment complex aimed at vets, reports the Tennessean.
  • In mid-June, Veterans Manor will open in Green Bay, WI, according to the local ABC station. It will have 50 one-bedroom apartments as well as a community center and fitness room.
  • Officials broke ground at the Arizona Fisher House late last week. The facility “will provide free temporary housing to families of eligible veterans and military service members who are being treated at the Tucson VA or any other medical facility in Tucson,” according to Commercial Property Executive.
  • The Marmion Apartments in the L.A. neighborhood of Cypress Park, will house 24 homeless veterans and 24 low-income families. The project broke ground on May 14. According to EGP News, there are almost 3,000 homeless vets in L.A.

Here on the Peninsula, we are rich in military history and we have one of the largest populations of veterans in the country. A veterans-housing development or adding a veterans housing component to a development makes sense.

The question is how we do it.

And this is where you as a VPAR could be part of the solution. Do you know a builder who might be willing to work toward a veterans housing community? Do you know a lender who would be willing to be part of the team?

If you and other VPAR members can form and be part of the project team, VPAR can assist by working with local governments in the region and with the Commonwealth to make sure that the public policy components are in place, or can be put into place. We can work create public awareness and build media interest in the project, too.

Let’s put our capable resources and our strong member connections to work to bring additional veterans housing to the Peninsula.

We owe our veterans so much. Our vast local housing community can repay a small part of the debt that we owe them by thinking big when it comes to erasing veterans homelessness and providing housing opportunities for our service men and women. As one special soldier was fond of saying, “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” let us help them find their homes.

Susan S. Gaston
The Gaston Group, LLC
A Virginia-Based Government Relations and Public Affairs Firm