SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Just in time for Veteran's Day on Tuesday, San Francisco is celebrating the renovation of a Financial District building that will house more than 100 homeless veterans.
There are an estimated 700 homeless veterans on the streets of San Francisco so the new development should make a substantial difference in the city's homeless veteran population.
130 formerly homeless veterans will get their own apartments at 250 Kearny Street, the site of a former seedy SRO hotel.
"You look them in the face, you shake their hands, you give them the honor that they deserve for having served our nation," said Mayor Ed Lee.
Mayor Lee, Board President David Chiu and Supervisor Mark Farrell sponsored legislation for the City to lease the building at 250 Kearny Street. With the City adopting this lease unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, 250 Kearny will be substantially leased before year's end, according to the Mayor's Office.
Over 100 Homeless San Francisco Vets Find A New Home In Renovated Financial District Building
Lee said most of the tab on the building's lease will be picked up by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition, Veteran's Affairs will pay $500,000 for on-site services including case management, substance abuse recovery groups and counseling.
Residents like Clarence Cook, a Vietnam-era Army veteran, among the lucky ones who will move in, are expected to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income in rent.
"This means a lot to me you know? Because I don't believe that a veteran should be homeless. Personally I went and fought for this country. I should be allowed to live somewhere other than on the streets," Cook said.
On the streets is exactly where he's been when not in jail for most of the last 20 years.
He'll now have Internet, cable TV, a private bathroom and a communal kitchen.
The City worked with HUD, the VA, San Francisco Housing Authority, Human Services Agency and Swords To Plowshares among others on the Homes For Heroes campaign.
According to the Mayor's Office, they are enhancing efforts to recruit and hire qualified veterans for a variety of jobs, including employment by the City and County of San Francisco (the largest employer in San Francisco), which provides preference to hire veterans and in particular– disabled veterans.
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