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MSHDA Board commits $2.75 million to homeless veteran housing

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Detroit development, statewide grants announced

LANSING, Mich. – January 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority Board approved two grants today aimed at reducing veteran homelessness significantly in 2016.

The board OK’d a $2 million Housing Development Fund (HDF) grant to the Michigan Veterans Foundation. The funds would support the construction of a new 44,000 square foot building that will house the Detroit Veteran’s Center and deliver services to more than 1,200 veterans each year.

“We want to help put a roof over the head of every homeless veteran,” said Kelly Rose, MSHDA’s director of Rental Assistance and Homeless Solutions.

The site, at the corner of Forest and Rosa Parks Boulevard, presents an ideal location. It is accessible by public transportation routes needed by the MVF clients and close to existing employers, the Dingell VA Medical Center and other homeless veteran service providers.

The center will provide, among other opportunities, the following services for homeless and low-income veterans in Detroit and southeast Michigan:

Transitional living facilities for 100 to 150 veterans
Social services
Education and employment support
Job training and employment placement
Health care
MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer said “the project speaks strongly to MSHDA’s primary statutory purpose of homeless prevention and housing development and approving it is the right thing to do.”

The total project cost is estimated at $14 million. MSHDA funding is contingent on the developer securing sufficient operating revenues and community support.

The Authority Board also approved a $750,000 Housing Development Fund grant that provides rental assistance for up to six months to veterans experiencing homelessness. Funds will go to statewide Supportive Services for Veteran Families grantees and Housing Assessment and Resource Agencies (HARA). Veterans who access that support will be linked to services and assisted in finding resources–either employment or entitlement benefits–to help them maintain their housing.

During 2015, homeless service providers across the state provided housing for approximately 80 percent of veterans experiencing homelessness. The requested additional funding will provide housing for 200 more veterans.

Coupled with the funding, the Authority will develop a strategy with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to increase coordination of resources so that all veterans experiencing homelessness will be offered housing. It’s a strategy that will include involvement of local leaders and elected officials, additional coordination between federal, state and local homeless service providers and increased assistance to Continuums of Care (CoC) in developing local strategies to overcoming veterans’ barriers to housing.

MSHDA helped 3,200 homeless veterans find permanent or transitional housing in FY 2014-15. That left 1,200 homeless veterans whose needs were not met.

Opening doors to housing for veterans frees these individuals up to tackle other challenges they may be facing, such as education, employment or healthcare.

“We can do better, and this investment shows our commitment to doing better for our men and women in uniform,” said Steve Arwood, MSHDA Board chairman. “Government and faith-based organizations alone cannot end homelessness though. This needs to be a public, private effort. I see an opportunity for businesses to step up and give veterans living in poverty and homelessness a chance to interview for jobs, which will help them integrate back into the mainstream work force.”

In January 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder created the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness to design, develop, adopt and update a plan to end homelessness. Rose, who serves as the Council chair, said today’s funding helps the group get one step closer to reaching that goal.

“When these dollars are combined with our efforts and those of our strong partners at the MVAA, DHHS, and in coordination with the State Interagency Council on Homelessness, we can see that housing every homeless veteran is possible. We are committed to working in lock-step until that happens,” she said.

Rose added that the work being done to house all veterans will help the Authority and partnering nonprofit service providers develop a model that can be replicated to rapidly re-house all homeless populations, such as chronic and family homelessness.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

Contact:
Misty Miller
MSHDA Communications
517-373-1858

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