Turning swords into ploughshares and an army base into affordable housing

1 Dec

A little known law called the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, passed in 1987, requires that priority be given be the needs of homeless vets when army bases are closed down. When the Desiderio Army Reserve Center was closed in Pasadena, many of us affordable housing advocates cited this law to convince the city to build low-income, affordable housing on this site. Some people in the city resisted, but eventually Habitat was given permisssion to use ths property.

desiderioFast forward several years, and  this project is now on a “fast track,” as noted in the link below. I had the joy of helping to organize the community to get these units approved several years ago and write about this process in my book. There I talk about the struggles we had over whether this property should be for higher density, previously homeless renters or Habitat for Humanity homes. Given the fact this was a high-end neighborhood, located right under the famous Colorado St bridge,  we decided to compromise and supported Habitat.

Have any of you had experiences like this in helping to transform a former military base into affordable housing? Or do you know of such cases?

To find out more, check out Janette WIliams’ article:

http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_22095344/city-habitat-humanity-gear-up-long-awaited-desiderio

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One Response to “Turning swords into ploughshares and an army base into affordable housing”

  1. chrissypadilla December 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Congratulations! This is fantastic news, Jill. I’m working for an affordable housing lender in Boston. I’ll ask around to see if any of the projects we’ve funded recently for vets were on former bases.

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