CATHEDRAL CITY – Many of Riverside County’s 132,000 veterans are homeless, laying their heads at night on makeshift beds of cardboard and wrapping themselves in any cloth remnants they can rummage out of the local garbage bin.
The leadership of Cathedral City is hoping to help put a roof over at some of their heads by offering affordable housing to veterans.
The city is partnering with Urban Housing Communities, a Santa Ana-based real estate company, to build a $27 million, 60-unit development at the southeast corner of Landau Boulevard and Vega Road with 48 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units, according to Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pettis and John Bigley, chief operating officer of Urban Housing Communities.
“We all know the dire need for affordable housing, but it is even more acute in the veteran population,” Pettis said. “We have all but $2.3M committed, but that seems to be in reach. It is anticipated to break ground early next year. This will be a great boost for the West Valley.”
Cathedral City put up the parcel of land, which is nearly four acres and is estimated at $1.56 million, he told Uken Report. Cathedral City leaders have been working on this project for more than a year, Pettis said.
“The land was originally set aside for a dog park,” Pettis said. “We do a lot of senior housing but nothing ever just for veterans. Homelessness among veterans continues to rise in the Coachella Valley and they are veterans of all wars – Vietnam, Iraq – you name it. If we can help, we want to do that.”
Veterans Village of Cathedral City will serve veterans who reside in the local community, Bigley told Uken Report. The VA Loma Linda Healthcare System has committed to provide services such as on-site case management, linking veterans to services in the community, connecting veterans to the VA Community-Based Outreach Clinic (CBOC), and/or living skills groups, and linking them to employment assistance. Community-Based Outreach Clinics provide the most common outpatient services, including health and wellness visits, without the hassle of visiting a larger medical center.
Veterans Village of Cathedral city will be professionally managed and have an onsite property manager, Bigley said.
Residents will also enjoy the use of a 3,000-square foot community center that will house the leasing office, an on-site service coordinator, offices for case management employees provided by the VA, open space for service delivery, community gatherings and a central laundry facility.
In addition, there will be a garden area where residents can cultivate and grow some of their own fruits and vegetables, volleyball and bocce ball courts, BBQ areas and outside seating.
This community will be developed using “Green Building” standards, which include, but are not limited to: energy efficient appliances, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, EnergyStar Low-E double pane windows, radiant barriers, energy savings light fixtures, solar PV, tankless water heaters, hardwood laminate floors, zero VOC interior paint, low VOC adhesives and sealants, ceiling fans and drought tolerant landscape, Bigley said.
Urban Housing Communities is a family-owned dedicated to developing affordable, sustainable housing that benefits communities and stakeholders. It offers seniors and families earning 60 percent or less than area median income, attractive, safe, healthy, vital places to live in California and Hawaii.