With more soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a growing need for affordable housing for veterans. Approximately 4 million vets are paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing, said Patrick Sheridan, senior vice president of housing development at Volunteers of America.

At the recent AHF Live conference, Sheridan explained how his national nonprofit organization is addressing the permanent supportive housing needs of veterans by building new developments, including Hope Manor in Chicago.

The $14.4 million, 80-unit development, which targets vets, was financed through a number of sources, including $8.6 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity from National Equity Fund, Inc (NEF). The development has 30 Sec. 8 vouchers and 50 Veterans Affairs grant/per diem units.

The organization is at work on Hope Manor II.

Overall, LIHTC investors like permanent supportive housing deals because these developments carry little hard debt, said Debbie Burkart, national vice president of supportive housing at NEF.

Because the incomes of supportive housing residents are low and their rents need to match, these projects cannot afford to carry debt.

Developers are seeing more states pushing for more housing for special-needs populations through their tax credit programs. For example, Illinois is rewarding the integration of units into its larger housing developments.

In discussing different strategies, Michelle Norris, senior vice president and chief development officer at National Church Residences, noted the increasing merger of health care and housing.

“I think you are going to see more of this,” she said.