Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Soldier On awarded money from state to help build permanent housing at VA campus in Leeds

Soldier On has landed $1.8 million in state housing subsidies to help it construct a permanent housing complex for homeless veterans on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Leeds.

Soldier On intends to combine the money from the state Department of Housing and Community Development with $6.2 million from the VA to develop the 44-unit development. The project also includes a 16-unit transitional center for women veterans and their children.

The complex will be located in five buildings on 9 acres overlooking Route 9 at the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System in Leeds. Soldier On hopes to begin construction this year.

The project will be the first in which permanent housing for homeless veterans will be constructed in partnership with the VA and directly on a federal campus. Through the arrangement, Soldier On will obtain the land from the VA through a so-called enhanced-use lease.

Veterans who live in the new housing will earn equity in their units through a cooperative, limited-equity program. The program requires veterans to buy their units for $2,500 and then make rent payments that are used in part for the upkeep of the units.

The model is designed so that the veterans will have the support and services of the VA community on the same campus.

— CHAD CAIN

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