The grant will help fund participation in a housing project to be built next to the VA Medical Center in Leeds. That project will eventually have 44 units for homeless vets and 16 units for homeless women vets and their families.
“Soldier On” has maintained a 39-unit housing co-op in Pittsfield since 2010.
Below is the entire news release sent to 22News regarding the grant, and how the money will be spent:
The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has awarded a $15,000 grant to Soldier On, the multi-state agency for homeless veterans, to benefit veterans who will be placed in permanent supportive housing.
Since 2010 Soldier On has maintained a39-unit housing cooperative in Pittsfield that has stood as a national model for permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans. The MassMutual grant will be used to purchase equity stakes for veterans in the next permanent supportive housing project due to break ground in the spring on property located adjacent to the VA Medical Center in Leeds. That project will have 44 units for homeless veterans and 16 units for homeless women veterans and their families.
Under the cooperative model, veterans can purchase an equity share for $2,500 that is held in escrow, which provides them with a permanent benefit to rent their apartment, and if desired, collect that money if they decide to leave. Providing homeownership to veterans is considered the final step in the fight to end veteran homelessness.
The grant was recommended by MassMutual’s Armed Force’s Veterans and Families Employee Resource Group which aims to further the company’s employees’ awareness of veterans’ issues, help support current veterans and active duty military and family members by acting as a single point of contact for all veterans’ resources at MassMutual, and to help develop and support MassMutual’s Veterans strategy.
“I’m very grateful to MassMutual for its support for our veterans community,” said John F. Downing, CEO and President of Soldier On. “As an agency that has served and built relationships with the special needs groups in our community, what they’ve done is what truly makes American enterprise so excellent when it shares its wealth to those in need in creative and responsible ways.”
Under the Soldier On concept, permanent supportive housing projects are placed in locations near medical and other services for easy access for the veteran residents. Units are managed by the veterans themselves. Soldier On currently has four other Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Communities in the planning and development stage in Massachusetts and New York. The late Gordon H. Mansfield, a native of Pittsfield, was a heavily decorated Vietnam veteran who served as Deputy Director of the Veterans Administration from 2003-2009.