Housing for veterans gets the go-ahead

City officials this week pushed forward with a new affordable housing development aimed at military veterans and their families, to be built in conjunction with Glendale Memorial Hospital.

The proposed 48-unit multi-family development at the hospital-owned property at 202 W. Los Feliz Road would be a joint venture between Glendale Memorial, national nonprofit housing developer Mercy Housing, and New Directions — a nonprofit veteran social service provider.

The project was chosen from a range of veteran housing proposals on Tuesday as several affordable housing developers lobbied the Housing Authority for a share of the city’s limited subsidies.

“It’s the only one I’ve seen that has a service provider that is already working with returning veterans,” said Mayor Laura Friedman, who with the other members of the authority cited the lower per-unit subsidy request as also contributing to their support of the project.

Now city housing officials will negotiate with the project team to move forward with the proposal, which includes a request for $4 million in city funds. It would still require a range of Housing Authority approvals to move forward.

The project would be a significant move for the City Council, which, led by Housing Authority Chairman Frank Quintero — himself a veteran — has in the past year been vocal about wanting to boost housing options for military veterans.

“I think there’s absolutely a need for veteran housing for the returning young Afghan/Iraq War veterans as well as for older veterans,” Quintero said Friday. “As a former veteran and someone who worked with veterans for 30 years, I’m very pleased that we’ve taken this step.”

It would add to a pilot program created last year that combines rental assistance with job training for local veterans.

State veterans officials also lauded the proposed project, saying it would help fill the gap of available affordable housing — especially for younger veterans returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who have families.

“Here at our agency, we get really excited when we see a city taking it upon itself to take on these different housing models for veterans,” Anthony Zamarron, community outreach and relations specialist with the California Department of Veterans Affairs. “This is a need that is only going to grow.”

There was less vocal support on the dais for a proposal from Los Angeles-based nonprofit PATH Ventures for a site in south Glendale that for years was to host a $4.7-million expansion project for New Horizons Family Center.

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