One hundred formerly homeless veterans have a place to live today at Silver Star II, the new phase of a key permanent supportive housing development in Battle Creek, Mich.
Developed by Frontier Development Group, the community is ideally located on a Veterans Affairs (VA) medical campus that provides primary and secondary levels of medical care, acute and chronic psychiatric care, substance-abuse treatment, and ambulatory care to 131,800 veteran enrollees.
“When I moved in to the Silver Star Apartments, I felt blessed, happy, and content. The move was exciting, at times…overwhelming knowing I had a home I feel safe and secure in,” said U.S. Army and Navy veteran Brian Young. “I came from the streets not knowing on a daily basis if I was going to have a mat to sleep on or a blanket to cover myself with. Silver Star and its staff have changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful.”
Officials gathered on Veterans Day to celebrate the development’s opening. The new apartments more than doubles Silver Star’s housing capacity.
The first phase delivered 75 apartments in 2009. After seeing strong demand for the units, the team went to work on building a second phase to house even more needy veterans.
Nationwide, 62,619 veterans were homeless on a single night in 2012, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) 2012 point-in-time estimates of homelessness. Although it is still a large number, homelessness among veterans has declined by 7.2 percent since 2011 and by 17.2 percent since 2009.
The decline is credit to increased efforts by HUD, VA, and developments like Silver Star.
“Silver Star is the best demonstration of how the Housing First model, coupled with readily available support services, provides positive life changes for residents who have proudly given their service for our country and the freedoms we enjoy,” said Marv Veltkamp, managing member for Frontier Development.
Financing for Silver Star II includes more than $12 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from Great Lakes Capital Fund (GLCF), which also financed the first phase.
GLCF President and CEO Mark McDaniel said the development holds a special place in his heart.
“My grandfather was one of the ‘Custer Men,’ who served in the 85th Division 310th Engineers Company F during World War I,” he said. “He trained here, went to war, and for the last two years of his 96 years lived next door to the VA hospital. The support of our investors and the developer’s passion to serve veterans honors not only his commitment but that of the hundreds of thousands who have come after.”
Fifth Third Bank invested in the project, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) approved a $2.7 million HOME loan and $1.3 million permanent loan.
Officials praised the collaboration among the developers, VA, MSHDA, Battle Creek VA Medical Center, the VA Domiciliary, HRI of Kalamazoo County, Summit Pointe of Calhoun County, and Family Home Health Care Services.
Medallion Management is the property manager; Wolverine Construction is the general contractors; and Progressive AE served as the architect.