August 2012 | Duluth Veterans' Place helps Minnesota veterans get back on their feet after facing a life crisis. The project entailed the redevelopment of two buildings into five transitional housing units and eleven permanent supportive housing units for homeless veterans. It also houses the regional office of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MAC-V), which allows residents to easily access programs and resources. The $2.5 million project had strong neighborhood and community support and was the first multifamily project for One Roof.
Located in West Duluth, Duluth Veterans' Place is an integral part of the Ramsey Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan. Through acquiring three adjacent properties, One Roof Community Housing was able to address the last cluster of blighted and nuisance property in a decade-long neighborhood revitalization strategy. One Roof transformed the properties into high-quality housing for Minnesota veterans that includes gathering space with a gazebo and green space for the residents.
Strong neighborhood and community support was critical for the success of Duluth Veterans' Place. One Roof Community Housing collaborated with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, the Spirit Valley Citizens Neighborhood Association, Home Depot, and Duluth LISC. The Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, the owner, manager and service provider for Duluth Veterans' Place, provides comprehensive program and supportive services to the homeless veterans and their families. Spirit Valley Citizens Neighborhood Association, the neighborhood-based community development corporation, helped raise $320,000 for the development from tax increment financing proceeds. The Department of Corrections' Institute Community Work Crew also provided significant construction and demolition labor to the project. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Duluth provided relocation and lead testing services as well. Jeff Corey, the Executive Director at One Roof Community Housing, noted collaboration was critical for the successful completion of Duluth Veterans' Place because it made it easier to access resources from the city and to obtain necessary variances from the zoning code.
Veteran Jim Bonneville moved into his apartment in the Duluth Veteran's Place in December of 2011. He has lived in Minnesota his whole life, aside from the years he spent serving as a medic in Germany in 1971 and 1974. Jim has three daughters and nine grandchildren. In1985, his wife was killed by a drunk driver. Since then, he has struggled with chemical dependency.
|Veteran Jim Bonneville|
Jim chose to live in the Duluth Veterans' Place after talking with the staff. "I thought they were easy to talk to and that this environment would be supportive for me," said Jim. "I wasn't wrong! Plus, I couldn't afford to live in a place like this on my own." Jim has limited mobility--so his ground-floor apartment is perfect for his needs. He also enjoys the camaraderie of living near other veterans. "It is nice to live in a place where people care and understand what you are going through." Jim, who spends his free time volunteering at a senior center nearby, described the impact that the Duluth Veteran's Place and the services he receives there have had on his life: "I feel more hopeful for the future. I still have something to give back." He stressed the importance of having facilities like the Duluth Veterans' Place. "I appreciate anyone that has been involved in making a place like this available. It's a really good thing to have in our community."