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Proposed Madison housing for veterans and their families would be nation's largest

Wisconsin State Journal - 1/4/2018

Jan. 04--A developer is planning a low-cost housing complex for veterans and their families on Madison'sEast Side that would be the largest facility of its kind in the nation, Dane County officials announced Thursday.

The development -- called Valor on Washington -- would offer 64 housing units including a mix of subsidized and market-rate rents with two- and three-bedroom apartments and on-site services for veterans at 1326 E. Washington Ave., site of the former Messner Inc.

"Veterans and their families have given so much to our country, we it owe to them to help them when they come home," County Executive Joe Parisi said during a press conference at Dryhootch Inc. in Madison.

The $15.1 million project was proposed by Gorman and Co. of Oregon, which just opened a similar but smaller facility in Arizona.

The U.S. Veterans Administration and others help veterans find housing, but usually for individuals, not families, said Otis Winstead, Wisconsin director of Milwaukee-based Dryhootch, a peer-support organization for veterans. The Gorman project would fill a need, especially for women transitioning to civilian life after military service, Winstead said.

Dryhootch would move from its site on University Avenue to a much larger space on the first floor of the apartment building, said Ted Matkom, president of Gorman's Wisconsin operation.

Gorman would seeking financial support for the project from the city's affordable housing fund, Federal Home Loan Bank, and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority Section 42 low income housing tax credits, according to a resolution being introduced for County Board approval in two weeks.

Construction could begin in mid-2019 or later.

The county bought the Messner building for $1.75 million in 2015 for use as day resources center for the homeless, but that project fell through amid opposition from neighbors. Gorman may lease the property from the county.

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(c)2018 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

Visit The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.) at www.wisconsinstatejournal.com

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