Many cities and states are now looking to tackle the epidemic of veteran homelessness nationwide by dealing with the issue within their own borders. Such a project will soon get under way in New Orleans, where dozens of veterans currently live on the streets.
A New Orleans nonprofit is working with a local real estate firm to build a 5.5-acre housing project for veterans of the most recent Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who need lifelong rehab, according to a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Currently, the block where these apartments will be built is green space after a canal breach in 2005 damaged all of its buildings, and the goal is to keep as much of that green space as possible and incorporate it into the development of this property.
The area will have nearly 80 apartments available to disabled veterans and their families, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms, the report said. In all, 70 percent of these slots will be affordable housing, with the remaining 30 percent being market-rate apartments. The good news for the veterans who will one day live there is that the property is adjacent to a new VA hospital in New Orleans that should be open by the end of 2016.
In all, half the properties will be rented to veterans who have physical or mental disabilities as a result of their service, the report said. The other half will be rented to older people who agree to volunteer six hours per week helping those neighbors in some way, be it babysitting, driving vets to the doctor's office, and so on.
This kind of assistance could go a very long way toward helping disabled veterans feel as though there are people they can lean on for help when they need it. Many such organizations exist across the country.