The theme of this year’s conference which took place in Atlantic City was “Building Foundations to Shape Communities.”
Developing affordable and supportive housing to serve the needs of homeless and disabled veterans is of utmost importance in New Jersey. The workshop offered the opportunity for attendees to hear from experts in the field.
The presenters discussed their experiences and best practices in creating permanent affordable supportive housing for homeless and disabled veterans.
They also discussed the critical need for capital funding, rental assistance vouchers and for strong and innovative partnerships between veterans’ groups, housing developers and service providers to achieve success.
In his presentation Michael Armstrong shared information about its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. Each year, the program serves 760 families living in 15 New Jersey (and 13 Pennsylvania) counties. Community Hope provides homelessness prevention helping individuals facing eviction to either remain in their homes with the aid of temporary financial assistance and case management services OR finding them more affordable housing.
Community Hope’s rapid re-housing helps homeless veterans and families to rapidly secure affordable housing with the aid of our housing search staff; temporary financial assistance and case management services. New program models include a clinical treatment model, its Bridge model, and Veterans Justice Initiative. Their housing developments include the Alfred J. Thomas Home for Veterans (AJTHV) and Valley Brook Village (VBV.)
Elizabeth Collins shared information about Valley Brook Village apartment development in Basking Ridge in which Peabody Properties is also a partner. Valley Brook Village is a rental community of 62 apartment homes for formerly homeless Veterans on the VA New Jersey Healthcare System’s Lyons Campus VBV opened in 2013, with residents, both men and women from all branches of the military. The youngest Veteran is 23 and our oldest Veteran served in WWII.
Phase II of Valley Brook Village, 50 one-bedroom apartments, will begin construction March 2018
In her presentation, Randi Moore, shared that, to date, 26 units of dedicated permanent supportive housing units for homeless veterans have been developed in Hudson County.
Examples of developments that house homeless veterans and their families in Hudson County include Homes for Heroes in Union City and Jersey City Operation Haven. Future projects include Hoboken American Legion, and affordable housing from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. Hudson County’s HCD is shifting its focus towards offering a preference for homeless veterans and/or low income veterans for future projects and providing home-ownership opportunities.