NEW YORK, NY - The Jericho Project and The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), along with the Mayor's Office of Veterans' Affairs (MOVA), celebrated the grand opening of "Fordham Village - A Jericho Project Veterans Community," a new six-story 56-unit affordable development for veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Located at 355 East 194th Street, in the Bronx, Fordham Village is positioned at a crossroads of business, education and community in the historic Fordham-Bedford region of the Bronx and will provide supportive housing and state-of-the-art services enabling U.S. service men and women to make the transition from military to civilian life with dignity.
Source: Jericho Project
There are currently an estimated 109,000 veterans who are homeless across America. With the goal of eliminating veterans' homelessness by 2015, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on public-private partnerships such as Jericho's Veterans Initiative to help close the gap.
Colonel David Sutherland, Special Assistant for Warrior and Family Support, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the yellow ribbon-cutting ceremony before veterans, national and local government organizations, military leaders and community members. A passionate advocate of veterans support, COL David Sutherland commanded the U.S. Army's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, deployed to Diyala province, Iraq from October 2006 to December 2007.
Jericho Project Executive Director Tori Lyon, who first envisioned the Jericho Project Veterans Initiative in 2006 in anticipation of the special needs of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, said, "This generation of veterans faces extraordinary challenges in returning home: high combat stress resulting in the invisible wounds of modern war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury; more female veterans with special needs and family responsibilities, and a difficult economy. We are ready to help them overcome these stresses with therapeutic housing and counseling."
At Fordham Village veterans will be able to heal and plan their futures in a supportive environment designed to address their unique needs. Some of the features include a glass-walled community room and garden and computer center. Residents will also have access to Jericho Project's trained staff that will provide professional counseling to help veterans pursue goals such as employment, family reunification and mental health. With professional support available to meet the needs of veterans of all eras, Fordham Village offers critical access to programs addressing the invisible wounds of modern war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
The six-story Fordham Village development has 56 new affordable units. Forty percent of the units will be reserved for low-income veterans from the community, with priority given to veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixty percent of the units will be set aside for veterans who have a history of homelessness and substance abuse. This is the first phase in Jericho's visionary Veterans Initiative that will eventually serve 200 veterans. The second veterans residence planned for opening this fall, at 2701 Kingsbridge Terrace in the Bronx, will provide housing and services for 76 veterans.
HPD provided $7.84 million though its Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP), and an additional $6 million through Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided $106,000, and $118,000 in developer equity was provided by the Jericho Project.
The Fordham Village Community Room is being named "Red Tails Community Room" in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen and Tuskegee Commander and Congressional Gold Medal recipient Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., who is also a VAC member and the Director of the Center for Urban Education Policy and University Professor at the Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York.