Gulf Coast Community Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul CARES Celebrate Groundbreaking of Sarasota's First Veteran's Housing Project.

The Giving Coast

Housing insecurity is an ongoing issue for many veterans. On Monday afternoon, together with its Board and a handful of generous donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul CARES celebrated the long-awaited groundbreaking of Sarasota’s first housing project specifically for those veterans.

"If you're a person who is just about ready to lose your housing and you don't have the resources to move into another house, that's housing insecurity. If you are sleeping every night or every other week on a different couch at a different home or you're sleeping in your car, that's housing insecurity. If you are sleeping under the Ringling Bridge or if you've not had a permanent residence for the last 15 years, that's housing insecurity,” explains Gulf Coast’s Senior Vice President for Community Leadership, Jon Thaxton.

The new housing initiative first came about when a group of donors with an interest in helping veterans came to Thaxton and asked if he would be able to do something with a million dollars. He put out some feelers and very quickly, the Office of Housing and Community Development and the City Commission came forward to help, designating land already zoned for 10 units. “We got additional cash resources from the Office Housing and Community Development and we got a pool of money from the donors fund and we just put it all together,” Thaxton says.

The Veterans Housing Initiative includes ten rental units in the city of Sarasota for low-income veterans, providing affordable housing to help our nation’s heroes. The units will be managed by key partner St. Vincent de Paul CARES, a nonprofit who has a successful track record of building and operating affordable housing for veterans. The apartments will be built on 25th Street, west of Orange Avenue and close to the bus line which will hopefully lead to greater employment opportunities. There are plans to paint a veteran's mural on one side of the building which will have shared borders with the African American Cultural Center of Sarasota on 27th Street.

“Our first focus is to occupy the housing units with north Sarasota County veterans because it is in a neighborhood that they know near support services that they already have in place,” says Thaxton. While the units will be on the smaller side, they will have laundry facilities as well as outdoor meeting space where people can gather and provide support to one another. “The amenities are going to be very similar to what we have in our own homes, including tiled floors, wood cabinets and high quality features donated by Home Depot,” he adds. The veterans will only be paying 30% of their income for rent and they will sign an annual lease which will instill a sense of responsibility and ownership, helping them to feel secure and safe. There will also be navigators available to help them make the most of their veteran's benefits.

“It's affordable and it will allow our heroes an opportunity to regain whatever ground they lost,” shares Thaxton. “In many cases, the ground that they lost was a direct result of them serving in the armed forces. Our goal is to have north Sarasota County veterans in safe, stable, high quality housing by this time next year.”

« View The Wednesday Nov 1, 2023 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Fab Lab Boosted by Steinwachs Family Foundation Grant

Fab Lab Boosted by Steinwachs Family Foundation Grant

Feb 21, 2024

Early Learning Coalition's Storybook Street to Give Away 20 Books per Family

Early Learning Coalition's Storybook Street to Give Away 20 Books per Family

Feb 21, 2024

Cantors in Concert: A Musical Mitzvah for Israel

Cantors in Concert: A Musical Mitzvah for Israel

Feb 16, 2024

Conservation Foundation is Enhancing Communities in Southwest Florida

Conservation Foundation is Enhancing Communities in Southwest Florida

Feb 15, 2024