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HELP Veterans Village Receives National Award
HELP Veterans Village was recently named the Special Needs Housing Project of the Year by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine. Developed through a partnership between the VA Maryland Health Care System, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, HELP USA, Cecil County, and the Town of Perryville, HELP Veterans Village provides housing for at-risk and formerly homeless veterans in the village area of the Perry Point VA Medical Center. The department provided nearly $19 million in financing for this vital project that has contributed to the reduction of veterans homelessness in Maryland.
Located just outside of the Town of Perryville in Cecil County, HELP Veterans Village features 75 newly renovated and newly constructed homes located in the village area of the Perry Point Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. The Village was awarded 75 Project Based VA Supportive Housing Vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which are administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. These vouchers provide subsidized rent for all the homes in the Village to support at-risk and formerly homeless veterans and their family members. These veterans and their families receive safe, stable, energy-efficient housing located near the full range of VA support programs and services provided by the medical center, as well as convenient access to local transportation resources. The Village also achieves net zero-energy consumption thanks to a 4-acre, 420-kW solar-array field that feeds back into the power grid.
The selection of HELP Veterans Village for this award highlights Maryland’s ongoing efforts to support local veterans. Earlier this year, Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland to recognize the state’s 380,000 veterans for their service and raise awareness of the unique challenges they still bravely face, including homelessness. HELP Veterans Village has contributed to the reduction of veterans homelessness in the state. Based on data from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness declined by 8.58% compared to 2017 data. Conducted by the state’s 16 designated Continuums of Care and supported by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Point-in-Time Count is a count and survey of homeless persons on a single night in January by local homelessness service providers that serves as a snapshot of the scope and scale of homelessness in Maryland’s communities.
Department financing for HELP Veterans Village was provided through a variety of resources, including short-term and long-term bonds, 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, a Rental Housing Works loan, and energy efficiency funds. The department’s Community Legacy program also provided funding to the Town of Perryville to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant system to support the creation of the Village. Additional financing for the development came from philanthropic support from the Home Depot Foundation, the Citi Foundation and Northrop Grumman. The Village’s sponsor is HELP Development Corporation, the development arm of HELP USA, a national homeless service and low-income housing nonprofit.
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