(DANVILLE, Ill.) – Mercy Housing Lakefront, Danville Housing Authority, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs joined with community members and supporters to celebrate the ground breaking of new permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.
The $17.5 million project includes 65 units of affordable and supportive housing for homeless and disabled veterans and their families. The building will be located on the campus of VA Illiana Health Care System, the regional veterans administration hospital in downtown Danville, Illinois.
In addition to safe, permanent, high-quality housing, veterans will have access to supportive services to help improve their quality of life.
“Supportive services are a catalyst to getting people off the street and on track to self-sufficiency,” said Mark Angelini, president, Mercy Housing Lakefront. “We’re honored to be able to create an environment where mental health counseling, casework and other therapies are readily available to these men and women who so heroically served our country.”
The project is one of the first in the nation to provide affordable housing on a VA medical center campus. As a result, chronically homeless veterans will have better access to health and social services.
“This project has been a labor of love and dedication for the people of Danville,” said Greg Hilleary, executive director, Danville Housing Authority. “We are very proud to be taking this bold step to reduce homelessness for veterans in our community. We hope this project will be a model for others to replicate.”
The 65 units include 44 one-bedroom, 18 two-bedroom, and three three-bedroom apartments, all of which will be reserved for at-risk and homeless veterans and their families. Rent will be subsidized through vouchers provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The building also will have community rooms, computer rooms, a fitness center, and office space for case managers.
Construction will be completed in summer 2016. The application process for leases will begin in spring 2016.
A CRITICAL NEED
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night. A lack of affordable housing, livable wage jobs, access to health care all contribute to the problem. Permanent, safe, community-based supportive housing is widely recognized as the most effective, efficient means to combat chronic homelessness among veterans and other populations. Permanent supportive housing helps create a stable environment where individuals and families can work through challenges with the end goal of achieve self-sufficiency.
INTEGRATED DESIGN, LOCALLY PROVIDED SUPPORTIVE SERVICES
The 74,100 square-foot development is designed to foster the accessible and visible connection between the residents and the greater Danville community. The overall development takes advantage of the rolling topography and mature landscape, creating and capturing views and daylight for the residents. The articulation and materiality of the new development will provide a fresh, dynamic and inviting appearance for the campus while complementing the existing architecture.
Chicago-based Perkins-Eastman serves as principal architect for the project. Forsyth, Illinois-based Horve Construction is the general contractor. Supportive services will be provided by Danville-based Crosspoint Human Services, a regional provider of behavior health and homelessness prevention services.
Since the project is located on the VA Illiana Health System campus, residents will have ready access to Veterans Administration health and social services. In addition, residents will be able to take advantage of vocational training and employment services at the Danville Area Community College, which is co-located on the campus.
STRONG PARTNERS IN FINANCING
The project enjoys financing from a variety of public, private and non-profit organizations, including the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Federal Home Loan Bank, US Bank, LISC, First Midwest Bank, and National Equity Fund (NEF).
“Citi is proud to work alongside Mercy Housing Lakefront, LISC and the National Equity Fund to assist our men and women in uniform,” said George Wright, Director Midwest Region, Citi Community Development. “Through the Bring Them Homes initiative, we have helped create more than 1,200 units of affordable housing for service members, and the Danville project is the latest example of our efforts to support veterans who have given us so much.”
Citi Community Development and the MetLife Foundation provided funding for construction start-up costs through Bring Them HOMES, a veterans housing initiative created by the National Equity Fund. NEF is an affiliate of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
“Extraordinary things happen when you have great partners and today’s groundbreaking for the Danville Veterans Housing Project is proof of that belief,” commented Joe Hagan, president and CEO of National Equity Fund, LIHTC syndicator for the development.
“Funding partners like Citi Community Development and Met Life Foundation and everyone else involved in this effort understand the need for permanent affordable housing for the individuals and their families who have served our country in the military.”
In addition, The Home Depot Foundation generously provided a $500,000 grant for the project. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $85 million to provide safe housing to veterans, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 17,000 homes for veterans.
MERCY HOUSING LAKEFRONT
Mercy Housing Lakefront, a regional business center of Mercy Housing, Inc., is a non-profit affordable housing organization providing innovative housing solutions in response to community needs. Mercy Housing Lakefront has developed and currently manages 28 properties serving more than 4,000 residents.
Mercy Housing Lakefront is working with various partners to leverage $1 billion over ten years to address the housing crisis in the Chicago and Milwaukee regions by building or preserving 7,500 affordable homes, creating 8,000 jobs and preventing homelessness for 20,000 people.
DANVILLE HOUSING AUTHORITY
The mission of the Housing Authority of the City of Danville, Illinois is to assist low income families with safe, decent, sanitary and affordable housing; encourage active resident participation, and provide opportunities for self-improvement which may enhance the residents’ self-confidence and economic self-sufficiency. We shall operate in an effective, ethical and professional manner, and will create and maintain partnerships with its clients and appropriate community agencies to accomplish this mission.