News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 25, 2014

Ground broken on project to house homeless veterans

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — When members of American Legion Post 328 at Riley learned that about 105 homeless veterans call Vigo County their home, they put their support into a disabled veterans housing project that broke ground Tuesday.

“Personally, I think it’s terrible that we have any veterans who are homeless, and I’m surprised to learn that we have more than 100 in this community,” said post commander Dave Whitesell.

He and post member Brian Thomas attended the groundbreaking at 1400 Hulman St. to show support for the project by United Cerebral Palsy of the Wabash Valley. Whitesell said he is personally unaware of any homeless veterans, but said that they likely find lodging with friends and relatives or in shelters.

UPC executive director Susie Thompson made the presentation about disabled veterans recently to the Riley Post and asked members to help veterans who have difficulty finding accessible housing.

Thomas said the Legion has plans for a spaghetti supper and a golf outing to benefit the veterans housing project.

The funding for the construction project has already been secured by the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission with financing from Terre Haute Savings Bank. Construction funding is set at $687,106 with $400,000 coming from HOME, a federal investment partnership program, and the balance from bank financing.

HOME administrator Mike Kass said first priority will be given to disabled veterans, then to other disabled people. Two of the units are already reserved for disabled veterans, and he said expects demand from veterans for more housing units in the future.

The project is funded to build three duplexes, each having two two-bedroom apartments for a total of six units. Each apartment also has two bathrooms. That can benefit a single veteran who wants to split the rent with another disabled veteran, who would have separate sleeping and bathroom space. Or, the two-bedroom unit could be rented to a veteran with a family.

A fourth duplex unit is also planned at the site, but will not be constructed in this first phase of development.

Contractor Richard Jenkins said that construction will begin within 10 days of the groundbreaking and is to be completed in 135 days, with occupancy planned for this fall.

UCP has become a go-to agency for disabled housing opportunities in the Wabash Valley. UCP  has the mission of improving the life and well-being of individuals with disabilities through advocacy, outreach, service and support. The agency helps people with all disabilities and their families in Vigo, Clay, Greene, Parke, Sullivan and Vermillion counties. One of the agency’s funding sources is the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

UCP has built several houses to be adapted for people with disabilities, all in partnership with the Terre Haute Housing Authority and the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.