Proposition 41 and VHHP program reach new heights

by Jonathan Cullifer, California Department of Veterans Affairs

Through the support of voters across California, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention program (VHHP) has seen tremendous progress over the past two years.  This 2014 initiative aims to reduce veteran homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless due to extremely low income.  The program has erected new, affordable multifamily housing communities throughout the state including a new community that celebrated its grand opening this week in San Diego.

To date, the VHHP program has awarded $311 million to 70 developments through four rounds of funding, estimating 2,473 housing units for veterans and their families throughout the state.

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In March of this year, CalVet joined statewide and community partners to officially open March Veterans Village, a 138-unit community that provides housing for veterans and their families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness on the former March Air Force Base in Riverside. More than just four walls and a roof, this development offers a range of supportive services on site, including, mental and physical health care, financial planning, resume and job placement assistance and more.

June was a busy month for the VHHP program. In the Central Valley and East Bay, CalVet helped open the Renaissance at Parc Grove in Fresno and Tabora Gardens in Antioch.  At the completion of the Fresno ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 29, a total of 28 veterans and their families packed up their belongings and carried them into their new homes. The Renaissance at Parc Grove is a 40-unit development that sits directly across the street from the large, federal Veterans Affairs medical facility that services the central valley of California. Tabora Gardens added 43 apartments for veterans and their families in the East Bay region.

The VHHP program then saw a flurry of sites open in September and October of 2018. The Donald and Priscilla Hunt Apartments in Bell and the El Segundo Family Apartments in Los Angeles are now providing about 60 housing options and services for veterans in the Los Angeles area. Liberty Village in Beaumont also opened and is providing housing options and services for 38 veterans and their families, while Benton Veterans Village, a small site in Santa Rosa, also opened and is now providing seven apartments for veterans experiencing homelessness.

This week, CalVet celebrated the opening of another project as our staff joined partners for the grand opening at Vista Del Puente in San Diego – a new, 52-unit development that provides mainly two and three bedroom units for veterans and their families, offering on-site case management and social services.

While these projects were nearing completion, the VHHP program and its partners were breaking ground on eight future multifamily housing communities. Developments in Oxnard, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Colma broke ground in 2018.  Upon completion, these new sites will offer housing to 431  veterans and their families.

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In March of 2018, the VHHP program broke ground in Oxnard.

One month after breaking ground in Ventura County, the VHHP program broke ground in San Francisco.  The Mission Bay Affordable Housing project will support 62 veterans, along with their families, and 56 low-income families from the San Francisco area.

Joining our partners from the California Housing and Community Development (CalHCD) and California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), CalVet unveiled its most expansive project to date as the VHHP program broke ground on two separate projects at Mather Veterans Village. Phase two will bring 46 beds of transitional housing to veterans experiencing homelessness, while phase three  of the project will bring an additional 50 housing units into a supportive development. Mather Veteran’s Village is located less than one half mile from the Mather VA medical facility that offers full veteran services.

“Like the other veteran properties in the state, Mather will fill a critical need for veterans and their families in the Rancho Cordova and Sacramento areas by supplying transitional housing and services to homeless veterans and those at-risk of homelessness,” said Dr. Vito Imbasciani, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).  “We’re pleased to break ground in Sacramento and throughout the state to help address the issues of affordable housing.  The VHHP program has helped a number of veterans achieve the American dream of owning a home; we look forward to helping many more.”

Thanks to oversight from CalVet, CalHCD and CalHFA, and approval from California voters, more affordable housing options have been made available to veterans throughout California.  Find out more about this CalVet program on our website www.CalVet.ca.gov

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California Department of Veterans Affairs – CalVet’s mission is to serve all of California’s veterans and their families. With nearly 1.7 million veterans living in the state, CalVet strives to ensure that our veterans of every era and their families get the state and federal benefits and services they have earned as a result of selfless and honorable military service. To learn more on how CalVet assists veterans, visit www.CalVet.ca.gov.

California Housing and Community Development – HCD is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing so more Californians have a place to call home. Our team works to ensure an adequate supply of housing for Californians and promotes the growth of strong communities through its leadership, policy and program development. For more information, please visit www.HCD.ca.gov.

California Housing Finance Agency – For more than 40 years, CalHFA has supported the needs of renters and homebuyers by providing financing and programs so more low- to moderate-income Californians have a place to call home. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the state’s affordable housing lender. The Agency’s Multifamily Division finances affordable rental housing through partnerships with jurisdictions, developers and more, while its Single Family Division provides first mortgage loans and down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. CalHFA is a completely self-supporting state agency, and its bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars. Learn more at www.CalHFA.ca.gov.

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