VCDC’s third installment in its series on affordable housing spotlights affordable housing solutions for Virginia’s veterans.
Veterans often require special assistance adapting to civilian life. Housing that is affordable and offers support services such as basic physical health care, mental health counseling, job assessment, job training and placement assistance could be the difference between success and failure for service men and women with limited family support.
We’ll visit a community in Harrisonburg that offers all the right stuff. Commerce Village delivers 30 newly constructed apartments that provide permanent supportive housing for persons with disabilities who are physically and medically vulnerable. Fifteen of the units are set aside for homeless veterans. Michael Wong with Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) recruited a troop of supporters for this project. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Virginia Housing Trust Fund, HOME and VCDC deployed the capital to make this community possible. Community support came from the City of Harrisonburg, Veterans Integrated Service Network, Veterans Affairs Central Office and Community Housing Partners to name a few.
We spoke with Michael Wong, Executive Director of Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and the driving force behind Commerce Village to learn more:
As it relates to veterans and persons with disabilities who are physically and medically vulnerable, what affordable housing issue tops your list of challenges?
Access to, and availability of, affordable housing and support services is our biggest challenge. Housing that is both affordable and supportive is what this highly vulnerable population needs, but it can be an especially difficult challenge. It requires many advocates working together to make it possible.
Why is it important to have quality in affordable housing?
High quality supports long term sustainability. Sustainability means ensuring that maintenance and upkeep aren’t so much of a burden. It means the housing will last longer and that is critical when supply is low and demand is high for affordable housing.
What is Harrisonburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority doing to celebrate Affordable Housing Awareness Week?
The City of Harrisonburg plans to recognize Affordable Housing Awareness Week by presenting a Proclamation to Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority. HRHA also plans to promote the benefits of affordable housing through various social media channels.