Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Valor Grove Apartment Complex on Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center Grounds Targets Homeless Veterans

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Valor Grove Apartment Complex on Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center Grounds Targets Homeless Veterans

Article excerpt

An $11 million apartment complex at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center has received 50 vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing the project to specialize in housing for the homeless.

The 50-unit, 83-bed Valor Grove complex is under construction on the Tuscaloosa VA grounds, using a combination of an existing building and a new three-story building.

The project has always been meant to serve homeless veterans and their families, but receiving notification from HUD this month that the project was approved for the vouchers means it will come to fruition, said Scott McGee, project developer. The HUD vouchers will be administered through the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority.

"Obviously, we were pleased that HUD thought enough of the project to consider it and ultimately award the vouchers," McGee said. "At the end of the day, it's about housing these veterans. We are happy to be a part of that."

In February 2009, VA officials announced plans to offer seven acres of land, along with the vacant 30,000-square-foot Building No. 33 to any organization that was willing to use the facility to help reduce local homelessness. Instead of a temporary or emergency one- night shelter, the intended purpose is that the property be used for "good, supportive, ongoing care to break the cycle of homelessness," Alan Tyler, the medical center's former director said at that time.

Doug Hollyhand of Hollyhand Realty and Birmingham-based MAP Development have formed a nonprofit, Valor Grove, which is developing the project. The complex is being funded by a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and a $210,000 grant from the city of Tuscaloosa.

The remaining balance of the project is being paid for through low income housing and historical tax credits, said Daniel Conville, strategic planner for the Tuscaloosa VA. The land is being leased free to the developers under a long-term "enhanced use" lease in exchange for the housing complex. …

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