In the small town of Dublin, Georgia, a number of obsolete buildings on the campus of Carl Vinson VA Medical Center had fallen into disrepair.
But that soon changed, thanks to an innovative initiative.
Through a creative program called the Building Utilization Review and Repurposing, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working with the private sector to eliminate functional veteran homelessness and repurpose vacant facilities.
Since 2012, the Communities for Veterans has identified 10 projects, which when completed will provide 535 units of housing for homeless, near homeless, disabled and senior low-income veterans, in seven states. Freedom Path’s at Dublin represents the ninth of 10 projects to be redeveloped to help curb homelessness among veterans.
In 2020, Freedom’s Path at Dublin announced that it had been selected by the Georgia DCA for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).
Veterans have dedicated their lives to serving our country and protecting our freedoms. However, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on a single night in January 2020 more than 37,000 veterans were experiencing homelessness in the United States. Projects like Freedom’s Path at Dublin are changing the statistics.
The next step: finding a partner to bring the initiative to life.
Regions Affordable Housing, one of the largest LIHTC participants in the United States, is providing the federal investment and construction lending for the 50-unit project that includes three buildings on the campus.
“Regions Affordable Housing has been the perfect financial partner for Freedom’s Path, wholly committed to the mission of supporting veterans,” said Craig Taylor, president, Solutions for Veterans.
The project has two components, the first being an adaptive re-use and historic renovation of the two existing buildings to create 44 units with a leasing preference for veterans who are homeless, near homeless, or disabled, who meet the income guidelines of the program. The second is a six-unit new construction building being developed to accommodate small households.
According to a 2020 study, there were more than 609,000 military veterans in Georgia. The study based on Census Bureau data found that among the veterans, 6.4 percent live in poverty, and around 800 are homeless. Freedom’s Path at Dublin is dedicated permanent affordable housing intended to serve this segment that dedicated their lives to serving our country.
“The Regions team was flexible and responsive to the unique aspects of the project as well as attentive and responsive at every point in what has been a most complicated financing structure. We could not have reached this point without their support,” shared Taylor.
Regions Affordable Housing has been the perfect financial partner for Freedom’s Path, wholly committed to the mission of supporting veterans.
Craig Taylor, Solutions for Veterans president
The Regions Affordable Housing team focuses on financing the construction of income and rent-restricted apartment properties and providing LIHTC investment opportunities in proprietary, multi-investor or regional platforms. This project represents the unique opportunity the team has to help serve military members who may be struggling with housing and seeking stability for themselves and their families.
“Having the opportunity to invest in the communities we serve, particularly the veteran population, is meaningful and hits at the heart of Regions Affordable Housing’s mission to provide quality, affordable housing in our communities. Regions takes pride in supporting developments like Freedom’s Path where we can leave a long-lasting, positive impact,” said Phillip Mullins, vice president, Regions Affordable Housing. “We’re able to truly create shared value for everyone involved.”
Freedom’s Path at Dublin is being co-developed through partnership with Communities for Veterans, LLC, Solutions for Veterans, Inc, The Dublin Housing Authority, Wellington “Rocky” Stevens III — as well as Garrison for Veterans. Garrison for Veterans is a service-disabled, veteran, minority-owned small business. Cabretta Capital is the State Equity Investor for Freedom’s Path at Dublin. Construction on the project will continue through late 2023, with lease-up beginning in the fall of 2023.