The long-awaited groundbreaking for a second apartment building at the St. Michael’s center for homeless veterans is scheduled for Tuesday.
City officials originally had hoped construction could start this past March. But delays occurred with the financing and with the final plat, which subdivided the expansive, 24-acre property that St. Michael’s Veterans Center sits on at 3838 Chelsea Drive, just southeast of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
The first $11 million building at St. Michael’s opened with 58 apartment units in July 2014 and quickly filled, creating a waiting list that now includes 95 applicants. Social service agencies estimate about 1,800 veterans are in need of permanent housing in the Kansas City area.
Now all the pieces have fallen together for the second phase, and construction is slated to begin on a site north of the existing building. Officials hope this second building can open in late 2016, with 59 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
“They won’t even have to look for tenants,” said Stuart Bullington, Kansas City’s assistant director for neighborhood and housing services, who has worked on the planning for St. Michael’s.
The first building included about 2,000 square feet of office space for veterans’ health care and support services. But the second building will connect to a 7,500-square-foot support services center, providing substance abuse counseling, job training, medical and dental care, and other help to give veterans a new lease on life.
The support center was made possible in part with a city contribution of $1.2 million in federal community block grant money.
The $11.4 million apartment building was financed in large part through federal and state low-income housing tax credits. U.S. Bank invested $8.3 million in purchasing those tax credits and also provided a construction loan.
“After our nation’s veterans have served their country, this is our opportunity to give back to them, especially those who are enduring homelessness or disabilities,” said Lynn Craghead, senior vice president for U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., in a statement.
The project is the result of a partnership between Catholic Charities, which oversees the support services; Yarco Co., which constructs and operates the buildings; and U.S. Bank.
A third apartment phase is contemplated, but the financing has not been identified. The full campus development is projected to cost more than $33 million and include 174 units of housing.
The entire campus is near 39th Street and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. Officials have touted its proximity to the VA Medical Center and have said it helps provide a new community for struggling veterans to rebuild their lives.