West Somerville Veterans Housing Project Gets $3.6 Million From State

Volunteers of America will redevelop a building in West Somerville to create 29 rooms of housing for low-income and homeless veterans.

Editor's note: This article was first posted on May 10. It was updated on May 11 to reflect comments from Tom Bierbaum, executive director of Volunteers of America.

A West Somerville project that will create beds and housing for homeless and extremely low-income veterans has received $3.6 million in subsidies from the state, according to an announcement from the governor's office.

The $3.6 million in housing subsidies comes from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, according to the announcement.

The $6 million project, at 1323 Broadway in West Somerville, at the intersection of North Street, will rehabilitate the existing building at the site to create a facility for housing and support services, according to a Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals document from Sept. 2011.

It will contain 22 beds of transitional housing in the basement and first floor and seven units of permanent affordable housing on the second floor, the document says. It will also have program rooms, a kitchen and a lounge.

Tom Bierbaum, executive director of Volunteers of America, said the new funding "will give us the opportunity to acquire the property." He said the organization is currently in the process of closing the deal with the current owner, CASCAP Realty, Inc.

"We're thrilled to be in Somerville," Bierbaum said. "The community has been very supportive of us."

The project will serve veterans of all ages, and "it's a badly needed service in Boston," he said. The Boston area has a number of veterans in need who served in Vietnam, and we're "on the cusp" of a new influx of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Volunteers of America executive said.

The builing will be up and running within a year, according to Bierbaum.

He said the building is not occupied at the moment, and it's been vacant since before winter. The building was formerly used as a nursing home, and it recently served as a homeless shelter, according to another filing with the city.

According to the announcement from the governor's office, the project is expected to create about 21 jobs.


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