Detroit, MI - /PRNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, Community Solutions, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Rocket Community Fund and The Home Depot Foundation announced the conversion of 60 transitional units into permanent housing units for veterans exiting homelessness.
The converted facility, 211 Glendale, is operated by Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries in Highland Park and the 60 new apartments include kitchenettes, upgraded fixtures and renovated common areas that will meet the needs of veterans to serve as permanent, sustainable housing. Renovations were supported through equal donations from the Rocket Community Fund and The Home Depot Foundation.
Dr. Chad Audi, PhD, CEO and President of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries said: "People tend to be very passionate about helping Veterans for only a few months or holidays out of the year. After that, they sort of fade into the background. In addition to our other year-round Veteran assistance programs, initiatives like this one will ensure our soldiers are housed and supported year-round and give them the tools to recover their lives and independence, which is always our end goal."
Freddie Tucker was the first veteran to move into the complex. Tucker's service was complete in 1983, but he said he didn't start accessing his VA benefits until the last few years when he fell on difficult times. Earlier this year, Tucker stayed in a homeless shelter in Detroit for three months, but said he was determined to progress out of that temporary situation. Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries connected him with a mental health counselor and told him about the new units at 211 Glendale that would soon be available. With their support, he moved into his new, permanent apartment in August.
Freddie Tucker, Veteran, said: "To me, it's more like a place where I call home. I'm proud to be here everyday. When I was in the shelter, I wouldn't go check in until it was dark. When I would get off work, I would go to the park and park my car and just sit. But here, when I get off work, I come straight home because I have somewhere I want to be."
The converted units aim to support the city's ongoing efforts to reduce veteran homelessness toward functional zero, a dynamic, measurable end state where veteran homelessness is rare and brief. Detroit is one of 105 communities in Built for Zero, a national initiative to measurably reduce homelessness to functional zero. From January 2018 to September 2022, Detroit has driven a 50 percent reduction in veteran homelessness, helping 1,175 veterans exit homelessness.
Nadine Maleh, Community Solutions Housing Systems Director, said: "Detroit is a leader in proving that it's possible to solve veteran homelessness. By having community-wide collaboration and real-time, by-name data on each veteran experiencing homelessness, they have been able to implement strategies to drive reductions in veteran homelessness. This data and collaboration has been key in determining the type and scale of housing models necessary to end homelessness, in this case increasing permanent housing options for veterans at 211 Glendale.
FROM TRANSITIONAL UNITS TO PERMANENT, SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
In Detroit, Community Solutions worked with the local housing provider, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, to convert the transitional beds to permanent housing through renovation, construction and a new financing model.
Candance Morgan, Detroit Veteran Leadership Team committee member, said: "We are very excited about having more affordable permanent housing for veterans. The Detroit Veteran leadership team has worked so hard on envisioning and creating affordable housing opportunities for our veterans and to see the fruit of that labor in the form of 211 Glendale is extremely rewarding."
Community Solutions, Rocket Community Fund and The Home Depot Foundation provided funding for the construction costs and helped the housing provider reconfigure its financial model so it can eventually generate income, while furthering its mission to end homelessness for veterans.
Laura Grannemann, Vice President of Strategic Investments, Rocket Community Fund, said: "The Rocket Community Fund believes that everyone should have access to a safe and stable home, especially those who put their lives on the line for our country. We are proud to support this innovative model that will provide new housing for veterans and will push us closer to ending veteran homelessness in Detroit."
Shannon Gerber, Executive Director of The Home Depot Foundation, said: "Through The Home Depot Foundation's long-standing partnership with Community Solutions and its Built for Zero initiative, we've seen significant reductions in veteran homelessness in cities across the country. We're proud to play a part in bringing that model of success to Detroit, helping more veterans in the community exit homelessness and access stable, secure housing at 211 Glendale."
This project demonstrates a model for other operators interested in repurposing transitional housing programs to meet the permanent housing needs of a community that arise as they reduce and end veteran homelessness.
The 60 units were converted into permanent housing from transitional housing funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program. This conversion has ensured that Detroit veterans will be able to move into stable housing and still receive the support services needed to remain permanently housed.
Community Solutions is a nonprofit committed to creating a lasting end to homelessness that leaves no one behind. It leads Built for Zero, a movement of more than 100 communities in the United States working to measurably and equitably end homelessness. Using a data-driven methodology, these communities have changed how local systems work and the impact they can achieve. To date, 14 communities have reached a milestone known as functional zero, a milestone for ending homelessness for a population. Learn more at www.community.solutions or follow us at @CmtySolutions.