Victory Gardens receives over $6.8 Million in Funds for Homeless Veterans
The Housing Authority County of San Joaquin (HACSJ) and San Joaquin County are pleased to announce an award of over $6.8 million in State Veteran Housing and Homelessness Prevention (VHHP) funds for Victory Gardens, a housing project for homeless veterans planned for completion in Fall 2022. HACSJ and San Joaquin County have partnered to develop Victory Gardens on 4.7 acres of County-owned land in French Camp near San Joaquin General Hospital. This award of State VHHP funding is a critical component to complete the project, and is the first time in the history of the VHHP program that a San Joaquin County project has been awarded these funds.
“In 2019, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the goal of ending veteran homelessness in San Joaquin County by 2025. Victory Gardens will go a long way in achieving that goal”, stated Kathy Miller, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. “No one who has served our country should be without a roof over their heads or a place to call home.”
This award will positively impact the Board of Supervisors commitment to end veteran homelessness through the construction of 49 units of deeply affordable housing on County- owned land provided specifically for the project. Adjacent to the 158,000 square foot regional Veterans Administration Community Based Outpatient Clinic currently under construction in French Camp, Victory Gardens will vastly improve access to housing and healthcare for our most vulnerable former service members by bringing these essential services together in one location. Within steps of San Joaquin General Hospital and convenient public transportation, Victory Gardens aims to improve the quality of life for veterans who have struggled with issues of mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness since leaving military service.
In addition to donated land, the project has received Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds from the County. HACSJ will contribute rental assistance funds through a program called HUD-VASH, a form of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers specifically for veterans. In July 2020, HACSJ will apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits to secure the remaining funding necessary to complete the $27 million project.
When asked about the need for housing for homeless veterans in San Joaquin County, HACSJ Executive Director Peter Ragsdale stated, “On any given night in San Joaquin County there are around 140 homeless veterans living in shelters and on the streets. With the construction of the new VA Clinic, this is not only the right time to aggressively pursue funding to house our homeless vets, but also the right location. The combination of affordable housing and adjacent quality healthcare will make Victory Gardens a success for these deserving heroes”.