U.S. Vet breaks ground for new homes

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U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz

Ground was broken November 9, near the March Main Exchange for the March Veteran’s Village, a low or no cost housing complex for homeless and in-need veterans.

Plans for a 138-unit permanent housing apartment complex include a 60-unit transitional housing facility, computer lab, community rooms, tot lots, classrooms and services provided by U.S. Vets, according to John Mealy, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.

“These units will be comfortable, attractive, moderate apartments for U.S. Vets, all of whom are in need, some homeless,” he said.

The March Joint Powers Authority donated the land and $10 million to the U.S. Vets, and has been with the project through many years of leadership, planning, patience and persistence, said Chairman Andy Melendrez, councilmember, City of Riverside, and chairman, 2015 March Joint Powers Commission.

“Riverside County has the 8th largest homeless veteran population in the country,” he said. “This new facility will provide housing for homeless and single vets.”

Those involved with the project are doing the best they can to reduce the numbers of homeless vets, which rounded out at approximately 2,000 in the Inland Empire this year, said Steve Peck, U.S. Veterans Initiative.

“Our goal is to end veteran homelessness and create services that go beyond that,” he said. “We will keep doing this until we get all of them off the street.”

Peck talked about the “Resident Council” set up at each U.S. Vets housing facility, the first of which was established in 1993 in Inglewood, California. “It’s important for the residents (of these facilities) to have a voice,” Peck said.

Thanking everyone involved in the “team effort” to see this project through, U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert said, “Our veterans have fought hard and sacrificed. Ensuring they have housing is the least we can do.”