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Vet housing project discussed at November AGGCC meeting

By Shain Haug | Allied Gardens Grantville Community Council (AGGCC)

The Nov. 27 Allied Gardens Grantville Community Council (AGGCC) town hall meeting will address the Zephyr Special Needs housing project for homeless veterans now under development at the old Motel 6 on Alvarado Canyon Road. The meeting will be attended by John Wurster and Brendon Bergen of Affirmed Housing and Jonathon Castillo of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless). In anticipation of your attendance, we think some background information on this development will be helpful.

Affirmed Housing is the owner and developer of this and similar projects. Their funding for purchase and construction is from equity investments in exchange for tax credits allowed under state and federal laws relative to development of low income and homeless housing. Funding also comes from the Department of Housing and Community Development Veterans and Homeless Prevention Program and the San Diego Housing Commission. The residents will receive Section 8 vouchers and will pay up to 30 percent of their income to rent.

PATH has a major role in providing recovery services to the homeless in San Diego. Funded by grants from private organizations and public entities, they are responsible for 2,000 previously homeless now in permanent housing.

Zephyr will provide studio apartments to 84 homeless veterans and one onsite resident manager. PATH and the Veteran’s Administration will conduct background investigations to ensure that no one with criminal tendencies will reside in the facility. Counseling services will be provided by a program manager and four case managers from PATH. While immediate relief from the “street” is the first objective, the long-term goal will be restoration to selfsufficiency.

The area of the Zephyr property is zoned as CC-3-9 by the Navajo Community Plan. The Zephyr modification of and ultimate use of the old Motel 6 is in compliance with zoning ordinances and building codes. No special governmental permission, such as a conditional use permit or a zoning modification, was required for plans that met building codes.

With that background look at the project, the question becomes that of how the Allied Gardens and Grantville community will respond to this development. That is what we will discuss at our town hall meeting.

I am sure that the first reaction was and will be, “Not in my backyard!” But the law permits them to join our community. What we have is an opportunity. An opportunity to greet and support veterans who, sometimes because of circumstances beyond their control and sometimes because of bad choices, have reached a low point in their lives. We have a lot to offer them and, as they recover their places in society, they have a lot to offer us.

The residents will come to the bare rooms of the facility empty handed and with limited resources. (Remember, if you will, the first apartment you moved into.) We hope to provide a “Welcome Home” kit for each resident as they arrive. An abbreviated look at the kit includes a supply of: kitchen and dining ware, cooking tools and the like; bedroom linens; items for the bathroom such as towels and toilet brushes; cleaning supplies; and miscellaneous personal grooming materials.

The Nov. 27 town hall meeting will begin with a series of AGGCC board questions to Affirmed Housing and PATH, to give you a better understanding of each of the organizations, of Zephyr, and what we can do for the residents. And what they can do for us. After about 20 minutes of that background information, we will turn the proceeding over to you, the affected community, for your questions. And for your comments, particularly those of what we can do to make this new relationship of value to all of us.

The AGGCC board of directors meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Benjamin Library, at the corner of Zion Avenue and Glenroy Street. Our next board meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 6. You are welcome.

—Shain Haug is the president of the Allied Gardens Grantville Community Council. Reach him at aggccshain@yahoo.com, or visit aggccouncil.org.

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