KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — New supportive housing for veterans is being built in Knoxville. On August 16, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), along with business, community, and government leaders, will officially break ground for Liberty Place.
The new development, located near the intersection of Division and Liberty Streets, will contain 32 fully furnished units. KCDC has been planning to create this permanent supportive housing development for low-income and extremely low-income veterans for the past two to three years.
“We’re excited because we really believe that affordable housing is a need across the community, but to serve a population that served our country and all of us in this way is super meaningful,” said Ben Bentley, KCDC executive director and CEO.
This development was created through a partnership between KCDC, the local government, the state government, the federal government and several other local partners.
“Congressman Burchett did a wonderful job of being able to go to bat for us with a $2 million earmark. The county provided the land the city of Knoxville kicked in some funds and then the Tennessee Housing Development Agency THDA helped us as well,” said Bentley.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett and others spoke about the importance of housing for veterans. An eagle from the American Eagle Foundation based in Kodak, Tennessee, was also at the ceremony.
“I’m proud to be a part of this,” said Burchett. “This is what your tax dollars should be paying for, these are the people we ought to be taking care of. That’s what this Liberty Place will be, it will give them a roof over their heads and other supportive services they need.”
To support the veterans living in the development, KCDC partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs and HUD to bring the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Program. On-site case management will also be provided to residents
“The way that the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program works, all of that process starts with the VA. They have to make sure that the veterans meet certain requirements in terms of income, in terms of service to the country. They send a referral to us, the housing agency, and then we’re able to put them on the waiting list to be placed in this facility. We know there’s a huge need, so, 32 units doesn’t meet the total need, but this is a good first step,” said Bentley.
“The veteran would pay 30% of their income toward the rent, but anything that they’re not able to pay above that would be funded through the federal voucher, which is really a fantastic program that allows people to live a quality of life in a housing that they might not otherwise be able to afford,” said Bentley.
KCDC aims to have the development built within 14 months and cut the ribbon in October 2024. Bentley added that KCDC hopes to create more housing for veterans in need.
“Whenever we’re able to put together more resources to do another project like this, we certainly will,” said Bentley.