Several dozen homeless veterans in Indianapolis will soon have a place to call home thanks to a public-private partnership. They broke ground on a 75-unit permanent supportive housing complex in Haughville, which is the first of its kind in Indianapolis.
"While there are a number of providers of transitional housing, individuals can only live there for two years," said Tim Campbell, President and CEO of Volunteers of America of Indiana.
The Lincoln Apartments will be located at 530 Holmes Avenue. The project is within a mile from the VA Medical Center and immediately north of a community health center on the city’s west side.
The property has sat vacant since 1962 when an iron works foundry closed.
The city donated the land and remediated environmental problems with $450,000 in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $50,000 from the state brownfields program.
The city also kicked in $500,000 of HOME funds from HUD. Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis made an AHP Award of $500,000 through their member bank, the National Bank of Indianapolis.
Veterans who are currently in supportive housing tell Fox59 they would not miss the Thursday announcement.
"I served from 1979 to 1989," said Jack Smith, an area veteran.
"I went in in 1967 during the Vietnam War," said David Steele, another veteran.
The development team, who participated in the 2011 Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute includes Building Blocks Non-Profit Housing Corporation, Volunteers of America of Indiana, Inc., Milner and Caringella, Roudebush VA Medical Center, Keystone Construction and Axis Architects.
“I am proud to say that Indiana was among the first states to implement a statewide collaborative effort to look for long-term solutions in addressing homelessness,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman who chairs the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. “In just a few years since its inception, the Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative has not only been recognized with multiple national awards, but has provided nearly 1,000 housing units for our fellow Hoosiers.”
Volunteers of America Indiana will coordinate continuing care once the facility is open and serving Indiana veterans. Services will focus on continued stabilization of housing for the veteran and their development of skills, including healthy lifestyles, relationship building/reunification, appropriate utilization of community resources, employment counseling, improved financial stability and community involvement. Participation in services is voluntary and is based on those areas the veteran seeks to make changes in his or her life.
"The fact that we have one person on the streets, homeless, who is a veteran, is inexcusable, said Vop Osili, an Indianapolis City-County Councilor.
"To be homeless, to not be taken care of, after they've taken care of us, is a sign that unfortunately, we've overlooked their sacrifices, and we can never, ever do that."
The homeless population has been growing in Indianapolis, according a report that was released earlier this year by the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention along with the Indiana University Policy Public Institute.
While the homeless population grew by 5 percent between 2011 and 2012, the homeless veteran population increased by 34 percent.
"We think this is a start, a good place to start," said Campbell.
Lincoln Apartments will be fully furnished when they open fall 2013. Most of the bedroom furnishings have been accounted for. However, the common areas and special purpose rooms will not be furnished as part of the project delivery.
The public is now being asked to chip in. The Lincoln Apartments Gift Registry may be accessed at http://bit.ly/ON15YF. This website will be updated with pictures and stories about Lincoln Apartments and its future veteran residents.