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Lightfighter Village Veterans Housing Project Awarded $12M, Nearing Full Funding

Lightfighter Village Veterans Housing Project Awarded $12M, Nearing Full Funding


Monterey Herald
By James Herrera | September 22, 2021

MARINA – Lightfighter Village, a project of the Veterans Transition Center and EAH Housing to develop housing for homeless veterans, has received $12 million in funding from the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention program.

“Lightfighter is very important as dedicated housing exclusively for low and extremely low-income veterans,” said Veterans Transition Center Executive Director Kurt Schake.

In a letter to the VTC and EAH from Sept. 3, the California Department of Housing and Community Development announced that EAH Inc. had been awarded a Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention Round 6 award of $11,952,820.

“This award allows EAH to seek the final piece of the capital stack – tax credits and tax-exempt bonds,” said EAH Project Manager Michael Schaier. “Once we receive tax credits, EAH will select a lender and equity investor necessary to begin construction.”

EAH Housing is a nonprofit housing development and management company that has developed and managed properties in California and Hawaii for more than 50 years.

Lightfighter Village in Marina is a $40 million project that would develop a three-story, 71-unit housing structure on 2.3 acres that would give homeless veterans a place to live in perpetuity with no transitional requirements while they continue to receive case management and access to support services.

Of the total number of units, 64 would be studio apartments at roughly 415 square feet, and seven two-bedroom units of about 850 square feet, including one manager’s unit. The structure would include a community room, manager’s office, computer lab, a pet wash station, laundry facility, meditation room and a fitness room.

“All on VTC property and serving local veterans,” said Schake. “With the current figures of homeless veterans, Monterey County will reach functional zero – where no veteran is forced to live on the streets.”

Schaier said that about half of the funding has been secured so far – 40% state sources including the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention and 10% from local and federal sources. The remaining 50% will be realized through tax credit equity.

“Tax credits are allocated to the state by the federal government,” said Schaier. “The state administers the program and awards the credits to individual projects. The developer then sells the credits to an investor who uses the credit to reduce their tax burden.”

What happens next is the obtaining of the tax credits and tax-exempt bonds, and closing on the construction loan.

Schaier said ground-breaking is expected sometime in 2022 followed by completion and leasing about 18-20 months after beginning construction.

EAH Housing is the developer of Lightfighter Village and will manage the property once it is built and residents have moved in.

The housing site in Marina is located on Hayes Circle and is within a half-mile of transit, employment, shopping and the Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense outpatient clinic as well as the Veterans Transition Center headquarters at Martinez Hall on what was once the Fort Ord Army base which was shuttered under the Base Realignment and Closure Act of Congress in 1994. Land from the closed Army base was conveyed to jurisdictions including Marina, Seaside, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks and the county of Monterey.

The Lightfighter Village project was unanimously approved by the city of Marina in November 2018.

Lightfighter Village is named after the 7th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army that was primarily based at Fort Ord and would be part of the 10 acres of land the Veterans Transition Center uses for its operations including its emergency, transitional permanent housing programs and other services for veterans.

“We are very proud of the support from Marina, Monterey County, the state and the VA,” said Schake. “All units are permanent housing, too, … a definitive, long-term solution to veteran homelessness.”