VA Boston Healthcare System
Historic Home Becomes Home to Our Nation's Heroes
BOSTON, Mass. — Building on President Obama’s commitment to end Veteran Homelessness, the Veterans Administration announced today the opening of the Howard House, the result of a successful public private partnership in Massachusetts to create affordable housing for Veterans.
The Howard House, built in 1944, was once a home for the aged. Now this two-story brick home boasts 14 beautiful and modern efficiency apartments co-located with the Brockton VAMC giving resident Veterans easy access to services and medical care.
VA Boston Healthcare System Director Vincent W. Ng thanked all who supported the project. “We have always enjoyed the benefits that come from joining with our community, state and local partners; especially when it comes to assisting our Veterans. This renovated property has served this community well over the years and we are pleased to be a part of its future,” said Ng.
Ng added that the VA and its partners have made a major effort for more than five years now to end homelessness for Veterans and as a result, they have reduced the number of homeless Veterans by half.
Congressmen Stephen F. Lynch praised the VA New England Healthcare System for providing excellent care and services to Veterans. said "The New England Healthcare System is excellent and most people don't know this but the government, in an effort to measure success within the system, rates VA medical centers on a star rating system with 5 stars being the best. In my district, we have three VA hospitals and they are all 5-star from housing to medical and mental health care to case management and job training for Veterans experiencing homelessness."
While visiting the troops on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lynch said he met men and women who had served more than one or two tours. “Some troops reported having as many as seven tours. Can you imagine serving seven tours? The challenges transitioning back are major.”
VA relies on strong, targeted collaborations in key areas at federal and local levels and engages community partners to develop innovative and forward thinking solutions that can lead to scalable and replicable models of service. VA funding is available for non-profit organizations and other programs that serve Veterans. VA funding is available for non-profit organizations and other programs that serve Veterans.
Windover Construction President, Lee Dellicker recognized Vietnam Veteran Al Poole for managing the construction efforts. “Al, you are a Vietnam Veteran who has not forgotten his fellow Vets. We thank you and are very grateful for all you have done for our Veterans.”
Dellicker spoke to the gathering saying “Al put his heart and soul into every detail of this project. He is a true patriot and someone I am proud to call my friend.”
Peabody Properties, Inc., Vice President of Development, Elizabeth Collins said the Howard House already has its first residents move in last week. “We have Veterans who are settling in their apartments from all branches of the military including a 95 year old WW II Veteran.”
Collins said Veterans who want to stay at the Howard House sign a lease and pay 30% of their income for rent the rest of their rent is subsidized. They are also given assistance in developing and following their own recovery or service care plans.
“The efficiency apartments are furnished to allow a homeless Veteran to comfortably settle in to their apartments. Services and support will be offered in the building and at the Brockton VA Hospital. This is not a short-term only housing option because if the Veteran is happy and thriving, they can stay here indefinitely, Collins said.
Peabody Properties understands the intricacies of the private public partnership because they worked on other housing projects such as the Bedford Green community a 70 unit development also for homeless Veterans that opened its doors in the Summer, 2016 and because they worked together with the VA to understand the causes and complexities of homelessness. Peabody Properties has additional residences for Veterans in Basking Ridge New Jersey and Beverly.
“Shelters and Transitional programs only go so far in helping a chronically homeless Veteran, creating homes such as this we are providing Veterans with an option to live in permanent supportive housing apartments with care and services where they live,” Collins said.
Brockton Housing Authority Executive Director Roger Herzog congratulated the development team and commended the VA for their partnership. “We all can appreciate the hard work it takes. I credit the VA with the idea to come up with surplus land to create this housing at the same location where there is a Veteran healthcare facility.”
Mayor of the City of Brockton William Carpenter called the project a team effort of federal and state agencies to make this a reality. “This project is not just about housing. Our outreach coordinators work in the community to seek out Vets who need help. This model is about having housing on site close to services for Veterans,” Carpenter said.
Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco Urena said “I don’t think we celebrate enough the things that are going right in the VA. I’m a veteran myself and grateful to say that the VA is my healthcare provider. To all of those who have served we welcome you to your new home.”