By Lee Vorderer
There was a lot of enthusiasm in the meeting room where Veterans came to learn about Bedford Green, the new 69-apartment residence on the campus of the Bedford VA.
The Veterans asked questions about the apartments and their layout, the application process, eligibility, parking, pet policies, and wrap-around services. They heard directly from those who will be managing those aspects of Bedford Green.
Clearly, Bedford Green offers something that Veterans want and need.
Although the units won’t be available until sometime in spring 2016, the application process includes completing paperwork, income verification, and an individual interview, so it takes some time. The goal is for men and women Veterans to begin moving in as soon as the units are ready.
Each of the 69 units includes a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and open living/dining space and will be furnished and provided with linens and kitchen equipment. There are four fully handicap accessible units; those Veterans needing them will be able to request specific accommodations within their own units. A laundry room and several common areas will be available within the building. Also available will be social work services, peer specialists, and emergency responder, as well as all the other services offered at the main campus of the VA across the street from Bedford Green. Veterans with chronic homelessness, the most significant needs, and women Veterans, will be given priority. Veterans living there must be at least 55 years of age, experience homelessness, and meet income eligibility requirements. Couples are welcomed, (the partners of the Veteran do not need to be 55years and older)
Bedford Green will offer Veterans much more than a roof. Each Veteran will have a comprehensive treatment plan there, with unique supports for vocational development / employment, education, health care, as well as supports and guidance around issues of substance abuse and sobriety where needed. Case management will be provided by the Veterans Assistive Supportive Housing (VASH) program, through which each Veteran will meet at least monthly with a case manager to review treatment plans, successes and needs for additional supports, answer questions and adjust plans as necessary.
These 69 units provide permanent housing; there is no waitlist maintained by the VA. Rather, applications are processed when a unit becomes available. Meanwhile Veterans are also encouraged to apply to VASH services in Bedford and at other VA medical centers; they will not lose their opportunity to live at Bedford Green. Each unit will have a Bedford Green specific HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Section 8 voucher, and Veteran households will contribute approximately 35% of their income toward the rent.
The information and application session was conducted by Cheryl Coviello, the VASH (Veterans Assistance Supportive Housing) program manager for the Bedford VA, and attended by Veterans and VA staff, John McKee from Peabody Properties, the management company for the project, and Wendy Aronson from the Town of Bedford’s Council on Aging, Bill Linnehan the Bedford Veteran Agent and Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Partners from Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, and Volunteers of America..
For more information about the Bedford Green Apartment Community, contact Pat Collins at 781-687-2374.