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With a housing development designed to get homeless veterans off the streets already taking form on Sunnybrook Road, government and nonprofit groups are working together to secure an adjacent property to expand the scope of the project.
The Raleigh City Council was expected to approve $400,000 for the construction of a second 10-unit development at its Tuesday meeting.
Seven of the apartments will go to individuals who earn 40 percent or less of the area median income and three to people who earn 30 percent or less. Tenants will pay as much as they can afford without sacrificing basic needs like food and medical care. The first phase is expected to open by early May.
The total cost of the project is $1.2 million, with the rest of the money coming from Wake County, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and local nonprofit CASA.
The project is akin to chipping away at an iceberg, said Debra King, chief executive officer of CASA, which will lead construction efforts.
We have a high number of veterans among our homeless population, many who have disability issues that arent immediately apparent, King said. This wont fix all that, but for the 10 people who end up living there, its life-changing.
The cost is roughly $350 per month to house the veterans, less than half of what it costs for a one-day stay in a mental health facility, she said.
South Wilmington Street Center, a county-run homeless shelter for men, houses many of the citys homeless veterans.
On a recent night when temperatures dipped below freezing, 64 of the 322 men sleeping in the shelters cramped dormitories had served in the military. Unlike some other shelters, the center treats people with all types of service backgrounds as veterans, regardless of discharge status or the amount of time served.
Its a safe bet that more were left out in the cold, said Bill Holtzstein, a case manager. The center has only 234 permanent beds, and community rooms are transformed into makeshift dorms when its freezing outside. Still, a lot of people are turned away.
Programs such as subsidized housing are especially helpful for people who are working low-paying jobs but are struggling to find adequate housing, he said.
Rather than help people be homeless, we want to help them end their homelessness, Holtzstein said. Getting more housing for veterans, helping them find jobs and get qualified for better jobs, thats what were trying to do.
Frank Lawrence, the centers manager, said plenty of veterans in the shelter are anxious for the new housing.
Were looking forward to having the extra resource, he said. Its a great investment.