Mayor Lee Announces HUD Funding for Veterans Commons

05/10/11— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant of $1.07 million to the Veterans Commons housing project at 150 Otis Street, a new permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless, senior veterans in San Francisco.  The grant is part of HUD’s investment in local projects in California which have never received HUD homeless funds in the past, providing critically needed housing and support services to homeless individuals and families.
“The men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces deserve the greatest respect and dignity for having sacrificed so much for our nation,” said Mayor Lee. “San Francisco is committed to helping veterans transition out of military service after returning home and providing them services they need. We are doing this the San Francisco way by providing permanent supportive housing for our most vulnerable veterans.”

“Today, we build on this Administration’s goal to prevent and end homelessness in America,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan “This funding will make a significant impact in the lives of thousands of people and provide resources to put them on the road of independence.”

“I am heartened that the $37 million in homeless grants comes to California at a time when they are needed more than ever before,” said HUD Region IX Administrator Ophelia Basgal. “These programs offer more than just a roof for homeless individuals and families. They also provide support services to a population with many important needs.”

Spearheaded by community-based non-profit organizations, Swords to Plowshares and Chinatown Community Development Center, the Veterans Commons housing project will provide 75 chronically homeless and senior veterans with permanent homes and wrap-around care. The property for Veterans Commons, a landmark building located at 150 Otis Street, was made available through the City’s Surplus Property program and has been supported by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Human Services Agency and the Department of Public Health. Funders for Veterans Commons include the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, and now HUD. Former Mayor Gavin Newsom in November 2010 joined veterans and community organizations to break ground on Veterans Commons, which is scheduled to open in January 2013.

“Nationally, the Obama Administration and VA Secretary Shinseki are implementing perhaps the most effective policies I have seen in my thirty-plus years as a veteran advocate and service provider,” said Swords to Plowshares Executive Director Michael Blecker. “They have rallied unprecedented cooperation with HUD to provide housing vouchers, bringing us all closer to meeting the 5-year plan to eliminate veteran homelessness.”