Permanent housing option in the works for veterans with disabilities

A project to construct a 75-unit apartment complex on the west side of Indianapolis for veterans with disabilities is in the works.

Indianapolis

A project to construct a 75-unit apartment complex on the west side of Indianapolis for veterans with disabilities is in the works.

Architects expect to break ground in August which would create a rare opportunity for veterans looking for a permanent home.

"My life sort of spun out of control," said Veteran Joe Kendrick. "I lost it all and was living on the street."

Kendrick is a client with nonprofit Heping Verterans and Families, a group that provides plenty of resources and temporary housing for veterans.

HVAF houses 200 veterans at several different locations, and they have a waiting list with more than 60 names on it.

"I really didn't expect to be here," said Kevin Law, another veteran, who looked to HVAF for help.

Both Kendrick and Law struggled with addiction, ended up on the street, and then made it into transitional housing.

"The more we have, the better. We'll be getting people off the streets. Not only are they homeless, but they're suffering from subtance abuse or mental illness," said  Amanda Ellingwood, an HVAF case worker.

HVAF is not involved in the apartment complex project, but they do help find their clients permanent homes, which can prove difficult.

"I think everyone feels the sense that when someone served our country we really owe it to them that they have a place to call home," said Lori Phillips-Steele, an official with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a non-profit that helps the community's most vulnerable people with housing options.

The Corporation for Supportive Housing is working with the area VA Medical Center, city and state officials and other nonprofits to turn a polluted brownfield into a healthy space and thriving community.

The complex will also offer on-site resources.

"A lot of times people don't want people to know they're homeless. We keep a bravado about us," said Law.

City officials are donating the land for the project, and they are helping fund the EPA cleanup of the site as it was once home to an iron works foundry.

Construction is expected to take a year.

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