MEDFORD, Ore. — On Tuesday, local mental health organization ColumbiaCare held a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of a planned apartment building specifically for veterans in need of housing.
The site is an empty lot at the corner of Stewart and Columbus, what will eventually be a 16-unit supportive housing complex for local veterans who are underhoused, at risk of homelessness, or those who are currently without a home.
“Although we couldn’t invite the community and our partners to gather like we typically would, we still wanted to mark the occasion, and also send a message of thanks to all who helped make this project possible,” said ColumbiaCare communications director Jennifer Sewitsky.
The project is partially funded through grants from the City of Medford and Oregon Housing & Community Services, with the remaining costs financed through Washington Federal Bank, according to ColumbiaCare.
“We want to thank our partners and funders for their commitment to Veterans. It is heartening to see our community and state make Veterans a priority in their decision-making and investment of resources. The impact this housing will have on those who will call it home is immeasurable.” said Stacy Ferrell, ColumbiaCare's executive director.
ColumbiaCare said that housing is one of the "most basic yet critical components" for someone to have personal safety, self-sufficiency, and health.
"Now more than ever, during a time of pandemic concerns, stable housing is critical as there is need to reduce virus exposure and transmission by controlling one’s own environment such as being able to quarantine or physically distance," the organization said. "Also, to be able to take proactive measures to stay healthy such as practicing good hygiene, being sheltered from the elements, and getting adequate sleep is key."
Construction on the apartment building is set to begin before the end of July, and is expected to finish by February or March of 2021.