WINCHENDON- The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center has been hard at work for nearly 4 years preparing to redevelop the former Streeter and Poland Elementary Schools into 44 units of low-income apartments for homeless and high-risk veterans. On Thursday May 18th it was announced that the organization would receive nearly $20m via a mixture of state and federal resources to advance this project forward. This award comes from the state’s “One Stop” program, which was created several years ago to allow organizations to apply for many state grants at once. These funds were appropriated by the legislature as part of the state’s broader effort to address the housing shortage across the Commonwealth, which the new Healey-Driscoll administration has made a top priority. This large award, coupled with a $2m award secured by Representative Jon Zlotnik in the Economic Development Bill and several other state and private awards, give the project the funding it needs to move forward.
The MVOC has partnered with Anser Advisory and Barbara Sokoloff & Associates to assist in securing funding and plans, Jones Whittsett Architects for design, and veteran-led Commodore builders to support construction. The property was obtained by MVOC from the town of Winchendon following a competitive RFP process several years ago.
“This is unbelievably exciting news for MVOC,” stated Executive Director Dr. Stephanie Marchetti, “there is a huge need for affordable housing throughout the state and we are excited to be able to be a part of the solution to that issue, and appreciative to the town of Winchendon for providing us the opportunity to expand within their community. We feel very fortunate to have received the support of many town officials and community members and are looking forward to breaking ground later this year.”
The Streeter and Poland re-development project is an adaptive re-use and new construction project that will transform the two vacant school buildings into one combined affordable housing complex for veterans. The interior space will also include a meeting room, a clinic space, staff offices, and more. Throughout the exterior of this 3.8 acre site there will be 22 parking spaces, a courtyard, and recreational spaces. Once completed, there will be 44 total units designed for veterans to age in place with at least 16 reserved for veterans earning less than 30 percent of AMI.
Said Representative Jon Zlotnik “I’m proud to have been part of this years long effort to secure funding for this project. MVOC and Dr. Marchetti have a proven track record providing top notch support for our veterans. I’m glad the state is able to make this important investment in our community. This means a lot for Winchendon, MVOC, and it will mean even more for those vets who are able to live there.
Undersecretary Maddox shared “affordable housing supports our most vulnerable residents, but it also enriches and stabilizes communities, ensures our communities are diverse, inclusive, and provides strong foundations for all our families to thrive.”
The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center has been providing housing and supportive services to veterans throughout North Central Massachusetts for over 42 years. For more information on services provided and ways to support this project, visit veterans-outreach.org/expansion.