VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease program provides eligible Veterans with affordable supportive housing

New complex opens in Danville, Illinois


shadow

The newly developed, 65-unit Veterans housing apartment building includes a large community room, six residential lounges, a patio area with a grill and benches, laundry facility, computer center and fitness center for residents’ use. Some of the available one, two- and three-bedroom units have views of a white gazebo, green lawns and a nearby wooded area.  The new building is located on the VA Illiana Health Care System campus and provides affordable and supportive housing for homeless, at-risk of being homeless, and disabled Veterans and their families as part of VA’s Enhanced-Use Lease (EUL) program.

The EUL program, operated by the Office of Asset Enterprise Management, allows VA to lease its underutilized property to private sector partners to develop supportive housing for eligible Veterans. For instance, the new Cannon Place complex described above has been named after the influential congressman who lobbied to bring a VA facility to Danville, Illinois.

Located just steps from the Cannon Place apartment units are on-site supportive service offices that provide residents with referrals to services such as mental and physical health treatment, connections to community partnerships designed to maintain self-sufficiency, opportunities for continuing education at the local community college, and access to medical services through the nearby VA facility. There is also a donation room that collects move-in essential items for Veteran residents, such as dishes, cleaning supplies, shower curtains, pillows, toiletries and bedding donated by various community groups and businesses.

The Enhanced-Use Lease Program provides Veterans in need with access to safe, affordable housing, but also include wraparound services to help them get back on their feet and an opportunity to interact with one another and create a community. This is part of VA’s holistic approach to preventing and ending Veteran homelessness, known as Housing First, and has been shown to lead to better long-term housing outcomes as well as better health care outcomes for Veterans.

“You know, it’s more than just about having somewhere to sleep,” says Marine Corps Veteran Emanuel Yates, who lives at a similar EUL housing complex in Minnesota. “It’s about having somewhere where I feel safe; it’s about having somewhere I feel supported; it’s about being a part of something.”

Since opening in September 2016, Cannon Place has become home to 89 residents and continues to grow. Four raised garden beds were recently installed by community volunteers after residents expressed interest in gardening opportunities, and there are talks of adding a playground for the 11 children living in the complex.

Recently, a group of women representing the American Legion Auxiliary toured the Cannon Place community. Among them was Mary E. Davis, the organization’s national president, who left impressed.

“The facility… is an amazing facility to give homeless Veterans not only a new beginning,” she said, “but a place to restore their dignity.”

Providing homeless and at risk Veterans with the resources and supportive services to help them achieve new beginnings and regain independence is a top priority for VA and its partners. The 65 apartments at Cannon Place is a great example of that, but there is more work to be done. You and your community can get involved by:

Author

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor – director of homeless Veterans outreach and strategic communications – joined the VA Office of Public and Affairs in 2010. He holds a Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) degree and has worked as a survey statistician, public housing redevelopment analyst and local government program administrator.

Comments

  1. Marc Sexton    

    This is a step in the right direction; these men & woman put it on the line & im glad to see there is hope.
    Can this program be expedited there are a lot of hospitals & each one could have a housing unit.
    There is public secure land that could be used for t this & maybe they can get a tax break to help give infinitive.

  2. 9N4h    

    I am a disabled veteran and i would love to try to start something like this in Albuquerque. I don’t have much money but I know this would nery helpful here. Please let me know how I can help my fell Vdts.

    1. Steven Saunders    

      I have been trying to get info on how to start a small version of this on my property also. Never get a response…

  3. Michael Goldsmith    

    Is there any kind of program like this in Orlando Florida I am having a great problem trying to find housing here for me and my wife even though I have been approved for hud-vash you see after Desert Storm I returned with what I now know is post-traumatic stress disorder within 6 months of my return I was in prison because of my illness I did a total of 22 years in prison and now receive service-connected disability and I am in treatment for my illnesses I have been out of prison for two years and I am doing great however because of my record I have not been able to find housing for me and my wife I am almost to the point of giving up and move somewhere else can you help me please

  4. Debra Franzen    

    After looking at your large housing complex, I am thinking it’s for veterans? Being from agency that works with individuals with development disabilities I have been advised large buildings of any type are not good for a group of people. So I wonder the difference? It still points to the fact that all living there are disabled veterans.

  5. Bliss Green    

    We need homes for veterans who have companion dogs—-as in homes that are built and managed to accommodate veterans with those prescription dogs. This is a growing need .

  6. Steven Saunders    

    I have been looking to start a program like this on a smaller scale on my Ranch. I would like to have living accommodations for 10 to start with. Never can seem to get information on funding or mentoring to start it. The easy button likely is hidden in layers of rabbit holes.

  7. Ronald Ratliff    

    This is great! Wish I was in Illinois. It’s about time somebody stepped up for us. I feel like I am strung out on my own. I was deployed to Grenada and Iraq (Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield). I am currently trying to keep my own home after a thief stole my identity. I had already been a homeless vet and know what it’s like, but was finally able to purchase a house and pull myself out of it, but the identity theft has taken almost everything from me and out of me. You can read my story here: (gofundme.com link redacted).

Comments are closed.