After 14 months of construction, a 70-unit apartment community is about to welcome military veterans, including those transitioning from homelessness, in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. The development is one of the first private veterans’ communities in the U.S. to offer rental housing to former service members at a range of incomes along with comprehensive services, including a program to help move veterans toward homeownership, announced WinnCompanies.
Federal, state, county, and local officials recently gathered at the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community to celebrate the December opening of the $23 million mixed-income property with apartments for veterans earning between 30% and 80% of the area median income. Developed by WinnCompanies and nonprofit Soldier On, the community’s features include:
· 18 apartments available at middle-income rents of up to 80% of the AMI, unusual because most veterans’ communities only serve low-income households. The higher-income tier creates homes for those with service-connected disability compensation that would disqualify them from traditional affordable housing;
· A separate wing and dedicated laundry and gathering space for female veterans, offering them greater privacy;
· Free supportive programs that include telehealth, homeownership guidance, credit counselling, and legal services; on-site peer support; case management to assist residents with transportation, mental and physical health issues, employment opportunities, and access to Veterans Administration benefits and community resources; and
· A columbarium and an eternal flame located near the back patio for the respectful internment of the ashes of veteran residents who wish to be interred on site after they pass away.
“The fact that this community is 80% leased just weeks before it opens underscores the pressing need to help former service members who are searching for affordable, supportive housing,” said WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn. “Too many veterans struggle with housing affordability, especially those who served after 9/11. They can’t afford to live in the cities they volunteered to defend. Thanks to the expertise of Solider On and united support from public officials and agencies, we are taking a small but important step to address a very big challenge.”
In addition to 18 middle-income apartments, the community includes deeply affordable units with 18 available to veterans earning up to 30% of the AMI and 24 at up to 50% of the AMI. All 70 one-bedroom apartments feature a fully furnished, fully stocked kitchen, a dining space, a living room, a bedroom, and a private bath. Utilities, cable, and Wi-Fi service are included in rent.
Financing for the project came from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), which provided construction and permanent financing from the Agency Revenue Bond Financing Program and a subsidy mortgage loan commitment from the NJHMFA’s Multifamily Rental Housing Production Fund; low-income housing tax credit equity provided by Bank of America; a subordinate mortgage from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Program; federal HOME funds administered by Monmouth County; and a deferred developer fee. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) awarded 18 Housing Choice Project-Based Vouchers to the project to assist homeless veterans.
“Bank of America is proud to team up with WinnCompanies, NJHMFA, and NJCDA to help bring 70 units of much-needed affordable and supportive housing for veterans to Monmouth County,” said Todd Gomez, Bank of America’s North Region market executive for Community Development Banking. “The impact of providing safe, stable housing options will help make a lasting difference in the lives of our most vulnerable residents.”
The borough of Tinton Falls donated the 12-acre wooded parcel on which the community was built.
The community is named for the late Gordon H. Mansfield, a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran who served as deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, as well as assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equality Opportunity at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. During his military service, Mansfield earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community is Soldier On’s seventh housing facility for veterans and its first supportive services housing development in New Jersey, where it already manages several programs for veterans. The nonprofit also works with veteran communities in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.
“Soldier On is thrilled to see the completion of this project after years of effort and support from a number of individuals, agencies, and elected officials,” said Soldier On CEO Bruce Buckley, whose organization has served homeless veterans since 1994. “The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community will house and, most importantly, offer a multitude of services and supports for 70 U.S. military veterans. Soldier On is grateful to all who helped make this a reality. It took a village to create a village.”
The new community is WinnCompanies'’ second veterans-focused development. In 2020, the company partnered with Brighton Marine, a nonprofit veteran support network, to complete The Residences at Brighton Marine, a mixed-income community in Boston with 102 units of veterans preference housing. Soldier On delivers supportive services and case management at a 25-unit permanent housing facility on the Brighton Marine campus.
The development was overseen by WinnDevelopment project director Matt Robayna. V.J. Scozzari & Sons of Pennington, New Jersey, served as the general contractor; PS&S Architecture & Engineering of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, served as the architect and civil engineer; Berman Indictor served as transaction counsel; and Gibbons P.C. served as local counsel.