“This initiative will significantly support our efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and improve the quality of life for Veterans,” said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System.
Baltimore, Md (PRWEB) October 07, 2011
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected the New York-based nonprofit organization HELP USA to advance its innovative initiative that will transform unused property at the Perry Point VA Medical Center—known as the “Village,” into viable housing units for formerly homeless Veterans.
“This initiative will significantly support our efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and improve the quality of life for Veterans,” said Dennis H. Smith, director of the VA Maryland Health Care System. “We have a moral obligation to ensure that Veterans and their families have access to affordable housing and medical services that will help them get back on their feet.”
Under the initiative, 60 of the existing vacant houses in the “Village” at Perry Point will be renovated and updated. After the renovation project, 44 of the homes will be occupied by formerly homeless Veterans or Veterans at risk for becoming homeless and their families. The remaining 16 houses will be utilized as dormitories for the AmeriCorps Program, which is a tenant organization on the Perry Point campus. The two-story wood-frame homes feature gabled roofs and range from three to four bedrooms, depending on the model. The renovation of 44 homes at Perry Point will enable the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Homeless Veterans Program to increase the number of Veterans it currently serves. Once construction begins, the project will take about a year to complete.
“To address the lack of suitable housing for formerly homeless Veterans, the VA Maryland Health Care System decided to spearhead this initiative to work with a community partner to provide additional support to our nation’s Veterans on land that is currently not being used to its fullest potential,” said Smith. “Providing formerly homeless Veterans with housing at Perry Point will also foster positive outcomes by having an array of treatment services, including vocational rehabilitation, within walking distance of the Veterans’ residences.”
The initiative at Perry Point is one of 34 projects being sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs across the country that will develop housing opportunities for formerly homeless and at-risk Veterans and their families through public-private partnerships and VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) program. Under the EUL program, VA retains ownership of the land and can determine and control its reuse. The Perry Point initiative will directly support VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness by providing safe, affordable, cost effective and sustainable housing for Veterans on a priority basis.
Founded in 1986 and recognized by the U.S Congress as a national model, HELP USA is a leading national developer of housing and provider of jobs and services for homeless and at- risk populations in the country, including families, war Veterans and victims of domestic violence. HELP USA has served more than 260,000 people since its inception, and to date, the organization has developed more than 2,500 units of housing including transitional and permanent supportive service programs. The organization will work in conjunction with VA clinicians and local elected officials and stakeholders in the development of the housing initiative at Perry Point. Once all the details for the initiative are agreed upon and a lease is executed, construction can begin. Construction is projected to begin in 2012.
The VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and outpatient care to veterans at two medical centers, one community living & rehabilitation center and five outpatient clinics located throughout the state. More than 52,000 veterans from various generations receive care from the VAHMCS annually. Nationally recognized for its state-of-the-art technology and quality patient care, the VAMHCS is proud of its reputation as a leader in veterans’ health care, research and education. It costs nothing for Veterans to enroll for health care with the VA Maryland Health Care System and it could be one of the more important things a Veteran can do. For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment or how to apply for a VA medical care hardship to avoid future copayments for VA health care, interested Veterans are urged to call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7324 or visit http://www.maryland.va.gov.