Lyons, N.J.—Valley Brook Village, a supportive residential property for returning servicemen and women, will open next month. Designed by The Architectural Team in partnership with Peabody Properties, the developer, it will house 62 veterans at risk for homelessness.
This subspecialty of affordable housing exists because of the all-too-common challenges facing veterans returning to the U.S. from overseas tours of duty, such as disability, depression, post-traumatic stress, unemployment, and homelessness. The affordable housing industry, along with veterans’ advocacy groups, have been collaborating in recent years to create housing for veterans.
According to the developer, Valley Brook Village is permanent housing, unlike transitional housing. Its purpose is to address veterans’ physical and emotional needs. Once complete, the nonprofit Affordable Housing & Services Collaborative (AHSC) will operate the property’s programs as part of the VA Supportive Housing program led by HUD. On-site counselors will aid residents with such programs as crisis intervention, job training, work readiness, and more.
The population of residents will include recently deployed Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, career servicemen (some of whom served in Vietnam), and about 5 percent female service members. Until recently, female veterans had little access to permanent, supportive housing; Valley Brook Village will be one of the first developments to provide support to both male and female vets.
The property’s design creates a non-institutional “village-style” setting so residents feel less isolated. The units themselves incorporate day lighting and exterior views, which are clinically proven to improve recovery from trauma and anxiety. The complex also includes sustainable elements in energy- and water-use efficiency, and the developer is anticipating LEED Silver certification for the property.