By Lee Vorderer
The Massachusetts Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) will administer funds from the state’s Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF), joining funding through Veterans’ Administration (VA) to pay for Bedford Green, a new project on the grounds of the Edith Nourse Rogers Veteran’s Medical Center in Bedford (Bedford VAMC). “We’re tremendously proud to be taking a lead role in the development of the Bedford Green Apartments, which will provide not just housing, but a supportive environment and services for a critically underserved community,” said Roger Herzog, CEDAC’s Executive Director. “This development will put us one step closer to the goal established by both the state and federal governments that no veteran will be without housing and services.”
Multiple state local, and federal agencies are partnering to develop Bedford Green, , which is estimated to cost $20 million, began at the end of March and is expected to be completed by April 2016. Upon completion, the project is intended to house nearly 69 veterans and provide dozens more with supportive services.
The building will meet LEED gold environmental standards, and it will provide permanent, supportive housing for 69 homeless veterans. Supportive services from the VA Medical Center will include on site case workers who will connect these veterans to the full range of physical and mental health services offered at the VA, an onsite peer counselor who will be available to offer guidance and support, and an on-site van and driver to help veterans connect to the many opportunities that the Town of Bedford offers. In addition to housing, Bedford Green will provide supportive services to dozens of additional veterans through its connections to the Bedford VAMC.
“The Bedford Green Apartments will be following a model that has been proven to work in other settings, and we’re excited to begin applying it here in Bedford,” said Susan Gustin, Director of Public Relations and Creative for Peabody Properties, which is developing the Bedford Green property. “We’re especially pleased that VA Secretary McDonald was able to tour the site last month and voice his enthusiasm for the project.”
Massachusetts is a national leader in its care of homeless veterans, and was the first state to outline a comprehensive plan to end veteran homelessness by 2015. According to the Commonwealth, there are more than 1,100 homeless veterans in Massachusetts overall, accounting for 19 percent of all homeless adults.