Affordable Housing for Vets and People with Disabilities Opening in Dubuque
Progress is continuing on the development of Full Circle Communities’ newest property, the 15th Street Apartments. Located on the former site of Saint Patrick Elementary School in Dubuque, the development is targeted to veterans and people with disabilities.
These homes could not come at a more critical time. In December, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report documenting a 1.5 percent increase in the number of homeless veterans between January 2016 and January 2017. This is the first reported increase in homeless vets since 2010. The HUD report came the same week President Donald Drumpf’s Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, David Shulkin, announced he was planning to gut a $460 million program aimed at combatting veteran homelessness.
That plan was ultimately shelved after receiving fierce condemnation from both veteran’s advocates and members of Congress. Though the program is safe for now, Secretary Shulkin’s actions highlight the volatility of available resources and the need to take immediate steps to secure shelter for our servicemen.
Dubuque more than understands the gravity of the current climate. The 2010 census estimates that Dubuque has a population of about 4,400 veterans – of those, 600 have a service-related disability and 200 have incomes that fall below the poverty line. Randy Rennison, executive director of the Dubuque County Veteran’s Affairs office, told the Telegraph Herald in October 2016 that he sees anywhere between 15 to 20 veterans each month who struggle with the price of housing.
With the opening of 15th Street Apartments, some of those struggles will finally be alleviated. Full Circle has reserved 32 of the available 36 units for households earning 30%, 40%, and 60% of the area median income. Thanks to partnerships with local nonprofits, various services will be offered to residents free of charge, including guidance through the VA system, benefits, transportation and employment assistance, medical screenings and health awareness, advocacy, and case management.
In all, First Circle plans to invest six million dollars into 15th Street Apartments. It is one of four properties currently in development across three states, including their first in Michigan. When completed, these four properties will put over 160 new affordable homes into the market, bringing the total number of units under Full Circle’s control to over 800.
15th Street Apartments will be Full Circle’s second Iowa-based property. Their first, The Arbor at Lindale Trail, opened in Marion in late 2016.