A former U.S. Marine armory in Yakima, Washington, that was declared surplus in 2014 has a new mission—serving veterans. Yakima Housing Authority (YHA) and Beacon Development Group teamed on the adaptive reuse of the building, donated by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the addition of new-construction flats to create the 41-unit Chuck Austin Place for formerly homeless veterans.
The development is a first for YHA, allowing it to provide both housing and space for critical services in one location for the veterans.
On-site social services include a full-time resident services coordinator, two veterans’ benefit coordinators, and a medical and dental clinic run by Yakima Neighborhood Health. Other service providers include Blue Mountain Action Council, American Legion, and the VFW. In addition, community groups are providing a weekly food pantry and household items as needed for residents.
“I think when you have a place to call home, that really helps to stabilize your own situation. Whether it’s being able to address mental health or addiction or going back to training or work, it all revolves around having a place to live. If you don’t have that, none of the other issues can be adequately addressed,” says Lowel Krueger, YHA executive director. “And at the end of the day, we are so happy with the services that we can provide for our veterans in one spot.”
Daily operations of Chuck Austin Place, named in honor of a local U.S. Marine veteran, are offset by 21 project-based vouchers and 20 project-based VASH vouchers.
The $14.7 million development also boasts solar panels, Energy Star appliances, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and LED lights to provide cost savings.