AID FOR HOMELESS VETERANS
Projects in the Inland area received nearly 30 percent of the total funds.
$8.2 million — To the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition to help with the first phase of a new U.S. Vets facility on the former March Air Force Base in Moreno Valley.
$3.8 million — To LINC Community Housing Development to build apartments on Illinois Avenue in Beaumont.
$3.8 million — To Meta Housing for a Loma Linda Vets project.
$2.6 million — To A Community of Friends for an apartment project in Redlands.
New funding from Prop. 41 may be the key to getting construction started on a long-delayed veterans housing project near March Air Reserve Base.
The grant monies from the law that voters passed a year ago – authorizing $600 million in new bonds for homeless veterans housing – were announced Tuesday, June 30. Of the $62 million in grants, projects in the Inland Empire received $18.4 million, or nearly 30 percent of the total funds.
The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition received $8.2 million. The money will add to the existing funds for the U.S. Vets facility on land that once was part of March Air Force Base and which now belongs to the March Joint Powers Authority.
Last fall, Stephen Peck, president and CEO of U.S. Vets, said he hoped to have the $30 million, 138-unit complex under construction early in 2015.
The project was first announced in 2010 and Peck had hoped to start construction of the first phase in 2012. Gov. Jerry Brown’s elimination of redevelopment programs set the project back, as did an increase in the original $25 million price tag.
Despite the false starts, Peck said the project will get underway this fall.
“According to one of the grants we received, we have to break ground by Oct. 1,” Peck said. “That’s locked.”
He expects the project will take 18 months to build, meaning it will be mid-2017 before the facility is ready.
Mary Ann Ybarra is the multi-family director for the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition. She said she was surprised to receive the $8.2 million grant, which was the largest single grant in the state.
“We have a pretty good track record,” Ybarra said of the 32-year-old agency. “(But) you know, there’s a huge competition.”
The agency focuses on helping low-income families improve their living conditions. In the course of its history, Ybarra said the coalition has built more than 4,000 housing units for low-income families, seniors, people with disabilities and people with HIV.
Other projects receiving funds are in Beaumont, Loma Linda and Redlands. The latter is a $2.6 million grant to help build an apartment complex on the corner of Lugonia Avenue and Texas Street. The agency receiving the funds is A Community of Friends.
Tara Barauskas, director of housing for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit agency, said it has 39 buildings serving the homeless and those with mental illness. Most of the properties are in Los Angeles County, with four in Orange County. The Redlands project is the organization’s first venture in the Inland Empire.
This building will have 60 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units and a three-bedroom apartment for a manager.
“It is a mix,” Barauskas said of the future tenants. “This will be about 80 percent for homeless veterans. The rest will be for low-income families.”
The funds will be a mix as well, including federal, state and local grants. The total cost of the complex is estimated at $26 million.
Barauskas said the Inland Empire is a region in need of such projects.
“There is not very much permanent supportive housing in the Inland Empire,” she said. “There’s quite a bit of it in LA but I think its going to be wonderful to provide that same supportive environment in the Inland Empire.”