Fresno Housing Authority Serving Homeless Veterans Through Housing
The Fresno Housing Authority won a 2020 Award of Excellence in Affordable Housing for Renaissance at Parc Grove, a housing community that serves veterans, including many who are experiencing homelessness. Nominated from among the NAHRO Award of Merit winners each year, the Awards of Excellence winners are chosen by national juries and honored at the annual National Conference and Exhibition in November. They represent the very best in innovative programs in assisted housing and community development.
California’s housing crisis is an issue that’s plagued the state for years. As such the state’s most vulnerable populations remain at higher risk for homelessness, including veterans. To address this issue head on, Fresno Housing secured a combination of local and state funds to create an affordable housing development specifically for veterans who are experiencing or are on the brink of homelessness. The agency also was one of the first to use Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Program funds, which helped leverage tax credits to make the project possible.
Renaissance at Parc Grove offers many amenities and services to help people who are homeless transition to the responsibility of a tenant. The site is located within proximity to a hospital and veterans’ health services, making it an ideal location for the project.
A local service provider who specializes in veteran homelessness works with residents free of charge, and property management staff works to create a community environment welcoming to all the veterans. There are ongoing weekly activities and classes on teaching the veterans how to create a budget, job training, and home care. The design features spaces for the residents to gather outside for barbeques and recreation. The idea was to create a community environment to provide a sense of comradery experienced during service. Currently, Renaissance at Parc Grove houses about 40 veterans.
The housing authority says since the site opened in 2018, the veterans served have reconnected with family members, entered substance abuse programs, found employment, and learned more about applying to higher education. While Fresno Housing offers housing units to people experiencing homelessness, this was the first project established just for veterans.
The success of the housing program led to both state and federal recognition, allowing the housing authority to secure an additional round of VHHP funding to expand the project.
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