By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
New York—Urban American Management, an owner and manager of about 10,000 units of workforce housing in 180 properties New York City, Westchester County, NY, and New Jersey, has expanded its Veterans Housing Initiative (VHI). The focus of VHI is to provide housing discounts to military veterans returning to civilian life after international deployment.
Urban American created VHI two years ago in response to reports of veterans who are unable to find affordable housing when they returned to civilian life, which in some cases leads to homelessness. Since the establishment of the initiative, Urban American has helped numerous veterans find high-quality and affordable housing in the New York metro area.
As part of VHI, qualifying veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and current service members remain eligible for free rent in the first month of their lease. Since this program will be offered to veterans in addition to other discounts that the company might offer, some veterans could qualify for even more rental benefits. Also, veterans who are applying to college or graduate school through the GI Bill may not have to pay any security deposit toward their apartment.
The expansion of the VHI program involves increasing its outreach and better identifying veterans and service members who could benefit from the program. The company has begun a pilot program of hiring military spouses to contact and follow up with veteran associations, veteran-affairs offices, and local reserve units in the area to further get the word out. By doing this, Urban American hopes to not only help veterans, but provide opportunities and some income to military families.
Besides VHI, Urban American is a strategic partner of Team Rubicon, a veteran-based organization that deploys teams of military veterans around the world to natural and manmade disaster areas to provide recovery assistance. Urban American has donated office space to Team Rubicon for its Northeast headquarters, as well as leveraged its relationships with large building material suppliers to set up Team Rubicon with grants, discounts and immediate access to equipment and materials.