Veteran's Village groundbreaking

Glendale mayor Dave Weaver, left, stands at attention as the Color Guard presents the flag during the groundbreaking ceremony for Veteran's Village, the new 44-unit affordable rental housing project for low income U.S. veterans, on west Salem Street in Glendale on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / February 19, 2014)

Standing in a massive, 15-feet deep hole, city officials broke ground on a 44-unit affordable housing project that will give preferences to veterans on Wednesday.

The $20.4 million project for low-income residents at 327-331 W. Salem St. is expected to be under construction for 15 to 18 months.

Councilman Frank Quintero, a Vietnam War veteran and chair of the city’s Veterans Coalition, acknowledged that the city officials were united in their support of the housing project, called Veterans Village, since its inception, but noted their dedication to veterans issues shouldn’t end there.

“We have an uphill battle. We have a lot of work to do,” he said before about 90 people.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman echoed his sentiments, adding that other cities should follow in Glendale’s footsteps by also building affordable housing for veterans.

“As many can be built, they will be occupied,” she said.

It took three years and a mix of loan funding from the federal government and the use of a federal program that allows affordable housing developers to sell tax credits to for-profit companies to get the arts-and-crafts-style project off the ground.

New Directions, a social service provider for veterans, will provide on-site case management and counseling to the future residents of the housing project, according to a city statement.

Greg Scott, chief executive of New Directions, said veterans who returned home from conflicts in the Middle East have fought two wars — the physical battles themselves as well as the war of a bad economy.

“Affordable housing is a major hurdle for our returning veterans,” he said, adding that roughly 10% of the country’s 70,000 homeless veterans live in Los Angeles County and that he looked forward to the day when the “phrase homeless veteran is eradication from our national vocabulary.”

Those interested in applying to get one of the 640- to 1,250-square-foot units, which will range in cost between roughly $480 to $1,332 per month, can visit www.veteransvillageglendale.com to sign up for updates.

Although there are 44 units in the complex, one is reserved for an apartment manager. Officials may begin accepting applications in September.

Depending on the number of people in their household, future Veterans Village residents must make between $17,940 and $59,460 annually, depending on household size.

The 27,910-square-foot site where Veterans Village is being built was once slated to be developed by an affordable housing firm the city is now suing for fraud.

Officials scrapped the 36-unit multifamily housing project featuring artist live-work lofts and, in 2011, the city filed a lawsuit against the developer, Advanced Development Inc., claiming the Los Angeles company cheated the city out of millions of dollars.

The case is ongoing, but last week the city announced it settled its legal fight with one player in the ADI development debacle, PNC Multifamily Capital, a national bank and investor, for $3.5 million.

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