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Chesapeake to build apartments for homeless veterans

Jordan Crawford | 7/14/2014, 3:04 p.m.
A new apartment complex for homeless or low-income disabled veterans may be coming to Chesapeake.

Southeastern Virginia Housing Corporation, a nonprofit group, wants Chesapeake’s aid in building a 50-unit apartment complex in the city for homeless or low-income disabled veterans.

Representatives of the company told City Council members last week that the $9.6 million facility, to be paid for mostly with state and federal money, would be the first of its kind in the city. The project would be similar to one that opened in Virginia Beach last year.

Sharon Shoff, the group’s director of administrative services, said the project would provide permanent housing for single veterans or families who would pay up to 30 percent of their income to live in one- or two-bedroom apartments.

“These are people who have gone off to war and now they don’t have a decent and affordable place to live,” Shoff said. “We just feel like we can do something to help.”

The project could be ready for occupancy by the end of 2017.

Shoff asked the city to help find up to 2 acres of land and allocate a portion of its federal housing allotments to the project.

She said the project would be modeled after Cedar Grove Apartments, a 32-unit facility the nonprofit opened last fall in the Bayside area of Virginia Beach.

Chesapeake City Manager James Baker said officials already have begun exploring potential sites for the project.

The proposal has already drawn positive reviews from council members.

“Not every veteran needs help, but there is certainly a demonstrated need for something like this,” council member Debbie Ritter said after hearing the presentation at a work session July 8.

“There are homeless veterans living under tarps on the ground in our great city,” council member Ella Ward added. “I’d be glad to see this project to fruition.”

Shoff said she hoped land could be donated or sold to the company at a nominal price.

The ideal site, she said, would be near a public transportation route “because many of our clients don’t have transportation.”