VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

 

VA Housing Project Proposed

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Photo of Homeless Veteran
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the concept of moving forward with a proposed EUL project at the Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Officials announced the concept to local and regional officials March 23.

This permanent supportive housing would be built on approximately nine acres of the Medical Center’s campus under a VA Enhanced-Use Lease to provide affordable housing units for homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of homelessness on a priority basis. 

VA has chosen Soldier On, a local nonprofit organization committed to providing temporary and permanent housing for homeless Veterans, as the proposed selected developer to develop, operate, and maintain the facility under the contemplated Enhanced-Use Lease. 

Additionally, under a separate initiative to bring innovation to VA’s most important challenges, the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) has also selected Soldier On “for negotiation” for an Industry Innovation Competition award.  Such selection makes Soldier On eligible to receive, subject to and upon execution of the Northampton MA EUL, up to $8 million (e.g., in progress payments) from VA, for use towards development of the contemplated permanent supportive housing facility. 

The VA Innovation Initiative, or “VAi2,” is a department-wide program that brings the most promising innovations to VA’s most important challenges by allowing employees and private sector entities to submit responsive proposals to VA suggesting ways to bring about innovative, visionary solutions to issues involving service to Veterans.

It is contemplated that under the proposed EUL VA will outlease the property to Soldier On for a period of up to 75 years.

As the proposed EUL lessee, Soldier On will be required to finance, develop, and maintain the supportive housing facility in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, codes, and requirements.

The project will support VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness by providing safe, affordable, cost effective, and sustainable housing for Veterans on a priority basis.

“The project would improve the quality of life for Veterans who need our help by providing them with affordable housing and supportive services with convenient access to our medical center,” said Roger Johnson, NVAMC director.

On April 14, 2011, at 7 p.m., VA is scheduled to host an EUL Public Hearing, to present the proposed EUL project to and receive views from the community.  The hearing will be held at the NVAMC’s Recreation Hall, Building 11. 

The decision to move forward with the project will be made based on a number of factors, including public comments received at this EUL Public Hearing.