Housing for vets with mental health issues started

City and state representatives, funding partners and elcted officials joined in breaking ground for Melrose Commons at 425 E. 161st Street.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Construction has started on the 58-unit Melrose Commons Supportive Housing Project in Morrisiana.

The housing will be built to support adults with mental health issues, with a preference for veterans.

The facility will be run by The Bridge Mental Health and Housing Solutions.

“It’s important to help people connect back to the community. That’s what we do with all our housing and that’s what we’ll do here,” said Susan Wiviott, from The Bridge.

Wiviott said for veterans, having no home can make it harder for them to focus on their more pressing problems.

“It’s very, very difficult to deal with or work on their issues or get training or treatment with no place to live,” she said. “That’s obviously the most important thing.”

Wiviott said the housing will give veterans a “sense of permanency.”

The housing will include a shared kitchen, computer lab, laundry room and outdoor recreational space.

In addition, there will be on-site management services for residents and round-the-clock front desk coverage.

Wiviott said the facility will also be able to link patients to “services in the community such as healthcare and other kinds of treatment programs.”

According to the Wiviott, the process of getting approval for the facility took approximately seven to eight years.

She said getting land use approval was a lengthy process since the property on which the facility will sit is part of a larger parcel of land.

Mayor de Blasio’s office supported the new facility, according to a press release. The mayor said it’s important that veterans who protect our nation are not left homeless.

One million dollars for the project came from settlements reached by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office from developers who abused tax-incentive programs.

Schneiderman was delighted that these settlement funds were able to provide housing for a vulnerable population.

The entire project will cost $16 million.

Other funding came from various departments including the NYC Housing Provision and Development Department, the NYC Housing Development Corporation and Borough President Ruben Diaz’s office and NYS’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program.

The project will also participate in NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program.

The program provides solutions for saving money by using renewable energy and using energy more efficiently.

The Bridge has several facilities in the Bronx. Altogether it manages a total of 850 units of supportive housing throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.

Wiviott said the community was supportive of this project and added Bronx communities have been “very supportive” of the work The Bridge does.

The Melrose Commons Supportive Housing Project will be The Bridge’s second facility geared towards veterans in addition to The Bridge Gardens Veterans Residence, which opened in 2014.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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