Affordable Housing to Address Veteran Homelessness

Community Solutions and Atlanta-based organization Partners for HOME announced today the purchase of a 132-unit apartment building to provide affordable housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. The project is an example of an innovative social impact model that can quickly expand the availability of affordable housing units targeted for reductions in homelessness.

Located just a few miles from the Fort McPherson VA (Veterans Affairs) Clinic, Centra Villa provides its tenants easy access to medical services and other community resources, in addition to long-term, permanent housing.

Cathryn Marchman, chief executive officer of Partners for HOME said, “We’re excited to partner with Community Solutions on this new effort to scale permanent housing solutions in the City of Atlanta. Lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness throughout the City and the new units made available at Centra Villa are a step toward making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.”

Atlanta is part of Built for Zero, an initiative of Community Solutions, which includes more than 80 cities and counties working to measurably end homelessness. Atlanta joined Built for Zero in 2018 and implemented this data-driven approach to end veteran homelessness in 2020.

Centra Villa will increase the number of units available to house veterans and will be connected to the local housing system to ensure it is targeted for support efforts to ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and nonrecurring for veterans across the metro region. The project aims to have 50% of the units set aside for vulnerable veterans, which will be accomplished through natural attrition, as the current tenants will continue to reside in Centra Villa.

Shannon Gerber, Executive Director, The Home Depot Foundation, said: “For more than a decade, The Home Depot Foundation has been dedicated to supporting U.S. military veterans. Homelessness and lack of affordable housing are some of the most urgent issues affecting too many of our nation’s heroes, and we’re proud to support the Built for Zero initiative to help end homelessness here in our hometown of Atlanta, as well as in cities across the nation. Through our continued work with Community Solutions, we can help ensure every veteran has access to a safe, affordable and reliable place to call home.”

Social Impact Investment Model

This project, which costs $12 million, is the result of a strong public-private partnership of national and local organizations. The organizations involved in the project secured a HomeFirst grant from the City of Atlanta, a social impact subordinate loan from the Atlanta Affordable Housing Fund, and a mortgage through Fannie Mae. The Home Depot Foundation also provided critical funding to support this project.

Traditional methods of creating affordable units often take too long to close the housing gap, or fail to support population-level reductions in homelessness. Atlanta was the latest community to partner with Community Solutions to leverage a model that has addressed these challenges, which include Denver and Santa Fe, N.M.

Allyson Randolph, Assistant Director of Real Estate, Community Solutions,

said: “Central Villa provides an example of how communities can leverage social impact capital to quickly acquire and target existing units for people experiencing homelessness. This project can serve as a model to urgently expand affordable housing in other communities across the country, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to destabilize the lives of individuals, families, and entire communities.”

The innovative social impact investment model consists of four key components:

  1. Investors who seek a demonstrated social impact and a return on their investment;
  2. Partnerships with local nonprofit organizations with the same vision and goals;
  3. Properties connected to the housing system so that housing is prioritized for people experiencing homelessness who are most in need, and;
  4. An enhanced property management model that offers support, community resources, and other services that tenants may need to stay stably housed.

The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $350 million in support of veterans in need and improved more than 48,000 veteran homes and facilities in more than 4,500 cities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation, visit HomeDepotFoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook + Instagram @HomeDepotFoundation.

Built for Zero is a national initiative of 80 cities and counties that have committed to measurably ending homelessness, one population at a time. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local homeless response systems work and the impact they can achieve. Learn more at www.builtforzero.org or follow us at @BuiltforZero.

 

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