On May 22, the Family Service Association (FSA) held the grand opening of Jackson Street Commons, a 27 unit Veteran supportive housing development near downtown Kokomo, IN. Mayor Goodnight expressed in his remarks that "This project is so good for our community in so many ways. I really do feel that it brought our community together and it infused millions of dollars into this neighborhood while creating a place for Veterans to call home."
FSA Executive Director Judy Dennis, in her comments at the opening asked, “The question is not why they ended up homeless, it’s how did we as a society let this happen?” She went on to describe how Jackson Street Commons will address Veteran homelessness by offering 27 units of supportive housing to those who have served our country and need both affordable housing and accessible supportive services in order to be housed and remain housed.
The development team graduated from CSH's Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute in 2011 and received a pre-development initiation loan from CSH. The service team includes FSA, the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, and Community Howard Regional Health.
Denise Deitzen, Medical Center Director of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, commented while touring the building that this has been a wonderful opportunity to partner with a community to end Veteran homelessness. This site targets Veterans who have experienced chronic homelessness and those with the greatest barriers.
Pete, a 53 year-old Veteran who has experienced homelessness for three and a half years, attended this opening in anticipation of moving into his own apartment the following week. "All of my adult life, until I became homeless, I used to be somebody," he stated. "I'd like to be somebody again one day and think that this place is going to give me the chance." Pete went on to share that once he gets settled, he would like to find a way to give back to the community.
This development was financed with a HOME grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and gap financing came from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, City of Kokomo, Howard County, community donations, and the VFW Post 1152.
Every room is furnished and comes stocked with kitchen and bathroom necessities including pots pans, plates, silverware, towels, hygiene items, etc. Also, a framed saying in each room honors Veterans with the following quote:
"A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for any amount, up to and including their life."
Click here to read the local press about this grand opening.
*Photo credit to Tim Bath, Kokomo Tribune