The debate around permanent supportive housing for Dallas' homeless has become incredibly bitter in the past several years , while regulation of private housing for the mentally ill will only really begin come October. But soon one group in dire need of housing will have a few more options: veterans, who currently make up around one-fifth of the total homeless population in the United States.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 112,642 veterans in Dallas County in 2010. That number has likely increased substantially in the past two years, with more soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. As the City Council's housing committee heard this morning, those vets are getting younger all the time.
Now, the city's planning a partnership with two private organizations to create additional housing for veterans. The first project, in cooperation with a Coppell-based nonprofit called Defenders of Freedom, will be two single houses east of White Rock Lake, meant specifically for wounded soldiers. City staff told council members this morning that construction on those houses is expected to be under way by next week. The city will pay for $200,000 of the costs; the rest, $261,761, has come from donations. The project has an expected completion date of May 2013.
The other project is an apartment complex to be known as Heroes House, located on Highland Road north of Interstate 30. The complex was built in 1964 and is being renovated into 30 one-bedroom units. Four of them will be handicapped-accessible, according to a representative from Karrington & Co., the construction company behind the project.
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Heroes House will cost around $900,000. If the project is approved by the council, Dallas will pay $400,000 of those costs, while $500,000 will come from Veritex Community Bank. The full City Council is expected to vote on the project in September or October.