Crews Break Ground on Veterans Housing at Fort Snelling

Updated: 05/29/2014 2:55 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 8:47 AM
By: Jennie Olson

On any given night, more than 10,000 Minnesotans are living on the streets or in shelters, including more than 350 veterans, according to Heading Home Minnesota.

Minnesota community leaders are hoping to make a difference in as many of their lives as possible.

A ground-breaking ceremony took place Thursday on the CommonBond Veterans Housing at Fort Snelling. The $17-million project will transform five historic buildings into 58 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.

The affordable housing development will also offer support services for military veterans and their families who are struggling with homelessness. This includes clinical services, counseling and monitoring, academic support, job training and crisis management.

The building will be completed this fall and is funded by both private and public partnerships: $9 million donated by UnitedHealth Group and $5 million in bonds allocated by Minnesota Housing.

The goal for CommonBond Communities, who will manage the site, is to end homelessness for veterans by 2015.

"What could be more important than assuring that our veterans who serve this country so courageously have a dignified place to call home? CommonBond Communities CEO Paul Fate asked. "What could be more important than that?"

One Vietnam veteran shared what it's like to live on the streets.

"We can build all the buildings we want for our veterans, but I hope when you leave here you with think of just this one word: affordable," veteran Jerry Readmond said.

Community leaders, politicians, veterans, and homeless advocates were in attendance at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

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