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City moves ahead with veteran housing

Council commits millions in joint project for 48-unit development.

July 19, 2011|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

CITY HALL — Glendale this week committed millions of dollars to a new affordable housing project for military veterans, making good on a pledge to provide more support for local veterans.

The City Council, acting in its dual capacity as the Redevelopment Agency and as part of the Housing Authority, voted to commit roughly $4.5 million in federal and redevelopment housing funds to a proposed 48-unit multi-family development.

The development is a joint venture between Glendale Memorial Hospital, national nonprofit housing developer Mercy Housing, and New Directions, a nonprofit veterans social-service provider. It is planned for a hospital-owned property at 202 W. Los Feliz Road.

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“It’s a perfect location, across the street from the hospital, for the needs of these veterans and any outpatient activities that might take place,” said Councilman Frank Quintero, who serves as chairman of the Housing Authority.

The commitment is a major step for the City Council, which, led by Quintero, himself a veteran, has in the past year pledged to boost housing options for military veterans.

It would add to a pilot program created last year that combines rental assistance with job training for local veterans.

“It’s an important focus, and one that he’s really spearheaded, and I think the city is going to be better for it,” said Mayor Laura Friedman.

City officials had in recent months pushed forward with the project to allow federal funding originally committed to a housing project planned by Advanced Development & Investment Inc. to be transferred to the veterans project.

ADI — which received roughly $34 million in Glendale housing funds for four city projects — is now under federal investigation for allegedly bilking cities out of millions with inflated construction invoices.

When the fraud allegations became public, Glendale officials cancelled their agreement for a fifth project but were at risk of losing nearly $4 million in federal housing funds if those funds were not reprogrammed to another affordable housing project.

City officials lauded the Mercy development’s roughly $85,000-per-unit subsidy — compared to the nearly $200,000 per unit subsidy awarded to ADI’s most recent Glendale project, Vassar City Lights.

City officials on Tuesday also voted to enter into an affordable housing agreement with the project partners, which will allow the developer to apply for $9.9 million in state tax credits to help finance the project.

If approved, officials said they plan to break ground in about a year.
 
 

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