Struggling Military Veterans Have More Options in Minnesota

Construction is underway for Veterans East, an affordable housing community for homeless military veterans in Minneapolis.

By Adriana Pop

Minneapolis—Veterans, project partners and community leaders recently celebrated the groundbreaking of a new, affordable housing community in Minneapolis.

Veterans East Groundbreaking

Veterans East Groundbreaking

Called Veterans East, the upcoming development will help end homelessness among military veterans in Minnesota. According to Heading Home Minnesota, a public-private partnership that aims to end homelessness, more than 10,000 Minnesotans are homeless on any given night, including more than 279 veterans.

A collaboration of public- and private-sector partners funded the $14.3 million project, which is being built by Community Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit developer and owner of affordable housing communities.

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group is the largest private investor, providing $5.2 million in equity through a partnership with Minnesota Equity Fund, using Low Income Housing Tax Credits approved by the state. Minnesota Housing, the other major investor, is providing $7.7 million in deferred loan funds for the new development. Additional funding includes $500,000 from Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines; $350,000 from Hennepin County; $260,000 from CHDC affiliates; and $290,000 in energy and sales tax rebates.

Upon completion in summer 2017, the new 100-unit efficiency apartment community will provide permanent supportive housing for veterans struggling with homelessness. Through partnerships with the Veterans Administration, CHDC, BDC Management Co. and Hennepin County, Veterans East will also include onsite services to assist residents with health care, case management, life skills, financial management, benefits assistance, education and employment resources.

“The men and women who will be living at Veterans East have endured many sacrifices while serving our nation, and Veterans East will provide housing and support services to help lift them up and out of poverty,” Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said in prepared remarks.

The five-story property will feature a lobby with security, community room with gas fireplace and kitchenette, laundry facility and resident parking. Watson-Forsberg is the general contractor, and LHB is the architect.

UnitedHealth Group’s $5.2 million investment is part of more than $240 million the company has provided since 2011 to finance affordable housing communities with supportive services throughout the United States. These investments have included $29 million for affordable housing in Minnesota, including $7.2 million for the recently completed CommonBond Veterans Community at Fort Snelling.

“MEF provides a vehicle for socially motivated corporations like UnitedHealth Group and financial institutions to make economic investments in well-designed, high-quality affordable-housing developments in growing communities throughout Minnesota,” Warren Hanson, Minnesota Equity Fund president & CEO, said in prepared remarks. “Our partnership in this new veterans development will help meet the critical need to provide military families with quality, permanent housing with supportive services.”

Image courtesy of Matt Page via Business Wire

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