Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (760) 347-3157
John Mealey, Executive Director
Indio, Calif. – The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC), an award-winning nonprofit housing development corporation headquartered in Indio, California and dedicated to helping very low- and low-income families improve their living conditions, announces commencement of construction of 138 safe, decent and affordable apartments for veterans and their families on the grounds of March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley. Development partners also include U.S.Vets, a national nonprofit that helps at-risk veterans, and the March Joint Powers Authority, a federally recognized reuse authority for the former March Air Force Base active duty base. March Veterans Village will provide both permanent affordable housing for previously homeless veterans and veterans and their families and, when fully built out, the Village will also house 60 veterans in transitional housing.
“As Americans, it is our responsibility to serve veterans — homeless veterans, low-income veterans and their families, veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental disabilities, and veterans adjusting to physical disabilities due to their commitment to secure our freedom,” said John Mealey, Executive Director of CVHC. “After putting their lives on the line for us, veterans should not have to struggle to find a safe, affordable place to live and the support they need.”
The development is made possible through a collection of public funding from the federal, state and local level including a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) grant obtained by project partners Riverside County Housing Authority from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing which will provide 75 rental assistance vouchers ensuring that Veteran households pay no more than 30 percent of their income for their rent.
Construction financing is provided by Bank of America augmented by an equity investment also from Bank of America, delivered through their syndication partner, National Equity Fund. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2017.
The housing development includes permanent housing designed to ensure veterans, including those with families, avoid and recover from homelessness. The unit mix consists of 116 efficiency units, 6 one-bedroom units and 16 two-bedroom units. The property also will feature a 13,000-square-foot Community Center complete with a large community room, case manager’s offices and the property manager’s office. The property design is California mid-century modern with a nod to the site’s aviation past. The 138-units are built into one four-story building and one three-story building.
The development is funded through a collaboration of local, state, national and private partners including the March JPA, U.S.VETS, CVHC, Bank of America, National Equity Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Affordable Housing Program (FHLBSF-AHP), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH), the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC), the California Department of Housing and Community Development Multi-Family Housing Program (HCD-MHP) and Veterans Homeless Housing Prevention Program (HCD-VHHP), the California Municipal Finance Authority (Cal MFA), the California Strategic Growth Council Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities Program (CSGC-AHSC), the Riverside County Economic Development Agency and Home Depot Foundation.
The ground-breaking held during the week of Veteran’s Day (on November 9th) included participation from Rep. Ken Calvert and representatives of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, U.S.VETS and the March Joint Powers Authority in Riverside County. Also attending were the mayors of Perris, Moreno Valley and Riverside as well as representatives of elected officials in state and national office and funding partners.
March Veterans Village is a labor of love for CVHC, U.S.VETS and the March JPA, who have been working toward this effort to build veterans housing where it is needed most. Riverside County ranks in the top 10 nationally for its homeless veteran population and has 15,000 veterans currently at risk of homelessness, according to studies conduction by the Riverside County Housing Authority.
Stephen Peck, CEO of U.S. Vets, says, “We owe it to veterans because we send them out there and because they are providing a service for this country. They do it to serve this country so I think it really behooves us to help them when they come back. I think there should be an equation that when we go to war, they’ll be a certain amount of money set aside for reintegration. I think we have an obligation to do that.”
Coachella Valley Housing Coalition has constructed more than 4,500 homes and apartments for low-income households in Riverside and Imperial Counties, In addition CVHC has developed childcare centers, after-school programs and computer technology centers and serves as an effective advocate for affordable housing policy and efficient property manager and operator of rental housing.
March Joint Powers Authority, the entity entrusted in 1993 to develop new uses for the closed March Air Force Base, took on the mantle of developing much-needed veterans housing on approximately 4 acres of JPA land and committed up to $11 million to that end.
U.S.VETS, a nonprofit veteran services provider, has been a vital partner is this effort. U.S.VETS is a nationally recognized leader in veteran’s programs and provides housing for 3,300 formerly homeless veterans each night at 12 locations across the country. U.S.VETS opened its current program at March Air Base in 2003, where it provides case management, transitional housing and permanent housing for more than 125 veterans a day. Once completed, March Veterans Village will nearly double U.S.VETS’ capacity to provide permanent supportive housing to local veterans.