Nov 08, 2015

Filling a great need: March Veterans Village provides affordable and transitional housing for low income and homeless veterans where it’s needed most


Brown Construction, along with Rep. Ken Calvert and representatives of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, U.S.VETS and the March Joint Powers Authority will celebrate the groundbreaking of 138 units of housing for Veterans Monday, November 9th at 10 am on March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. Known as March Veterans Village, the first 138 units, which Brown Construction is contracted to build, will provide decent, safe, permanent affordable housing for previously homeless veterans, and veterans and their families. When fully built out, the Village will also house 60 veterans in transitional housing.


With building costs totaling more than $45 million, March Veterans Village is a labor of love for CVHC, U.S.VETS and the March JPA, who have been working toward this effort to build veterans housing where it is needed most. Riverside County ranks in the top 10 nationally for its homeless veteran population and has 15,000 veterans currently at risk of homelessness, according to studies conduction by the Riverside County Housing Authority.

March Joint Powers Authority, the entity entrusted in 1993 to develop new uses for the closed March Air Force Base, took on the mantle of developing much-needed veterans housing on approximately 4 acres of JPA land and committed up to $11 million to that end.

U.S.VETS, a non-profit veteran services provider, has been a vital partner is this effort. U.S.VETS is a nationally recognized leader in veterans programs and provides housing for 3,300 formerly homeless veterans each night at 12 locations across the country. U.S.VETS opened its current program at March Air Base in 2003, where it provides case management, transitional housing and permanent housing for more than 125 veterans a day. Once completed, March Veterans Village will nearly double U.S.VETS’ capacity to provide permanent supportive housing to veterans in the Inland Empire.

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) is an award-winning non-profit housing development corporation dedicated to helping low- and very-low-income families improve their living conditions through advocacy, research, construction, and operation of housing and community development projects. CVHC has constructed more than 4,500 homes and apartments for low-income households in Riverside and Imperial Counties. In addition, CVHC has developed childcare centers, after-school programs and computer technology centers.

The development is made possible through a collection of public funding from the federal, state and local level including a Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing that will provide 75 rental assistance vouchers to ensure Veteran households pay no more than 30 percent of their income for their rent, securing deep affordability for themselves and their families. The VASH grant was secured with assistance from the Riverside County Housing Authority.

Construction of the first 138 units of permanent housing began October 1, 2015. In December 2015, a $27 million construction loan from Bank of America and a $14 million equity investment from Bank of America, delivered through their syndication partner, National Equity Fund, will further sustain the construction of the development, to be complete by summer 2017.

The permanent housing piece is designed to ensure veterans, including those with families, avoid and recover from homelessness. The unit mix consists of 116 efficiency units, 6 one-bedroom units and 16 two-bedroom units. The property also will feature a 13,000-square-foot Community Center complete with a large community room, case managers’ offices and the property manager’s office. The property design is California mid-century modern with a nod to the site’s aviation past. The 138 units are built into one four-story building and one three-story building.

The development is funded through a collaboration of local, state, national and private partners including the March JPA, U.S.VETS, CVHC, Bank of America, National Equity Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Affordable Housing Program (FHLBSF-AHP), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH), the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC), the California Department of Housing and Community Development Multi-Family Housing Program (HCD-MHP) and Veterans Homeless Housing Prevention Program (HCD-VHHP), the California Municipal Finance Authority (Cal MFA), the California Strategic Growth Council Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities Program (CSGC-AHSC), the Riverside County Economic Development Agency and Home Depot Foundation.