Work to begin at Fort Snelling on 58 apartments for homeless veterans
By MARK BRUNSWICK | (Minneapolis) Star Tribune | Published: May 28, 2014
Ground will be broken later this week on new affordable housing for homeless military veterans and their families at Fort Snelling’s Upper Post.
The venue is especially significant given the historic nature of the property: All but abandoned for decades, the buildings saw service from the Spanish-American War to World War II. The project sits west of Hwy. 55 adjacent to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The Fort Snelling plan is part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to address two goals: End veteran homelessness and reduce its inventory of vacant and underutilized properties.
With many windows boarded and the paint blistered by weather and neglect, the buildings looked tired during a tour of the site in November 2011. But most remained structurally sound.
The five structures will be made into 58 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. In addition, on-site support will include clinical health care services, social and support counseling and monitoring, academic support, job training and crisis management. Each apartment will include central air conditioning, vaulted ceilings and walk-in closets.
A veteran with anything other than a dishonorable discharge will be able to apply for housing. Multi-bedroom units are expected to appeal to veterans with families and a growing number of female homeless veterans who may have children.
Funding for the $17.2 million project includes $9.3 million in equity from UnitedHealth Group through a partnership with the Minnesota Equity Fund and $5.5 million in bonds from Minnesota Housing. Additional funding will come from the Family Housing Fund, Hennepin County, Home Depot Foundation, Metropolitan Council, Neighborhood Works America and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
CommonBond Communities, the largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing and services in the Midwest, will develop and manage the project.