Center for homeless vets dedicated

The new 61-unit Hardy Williams Veterans Center will serve former soldiers in need.

— Photograph by Tribune Chief Photographer Abdul R. Sulayman

A new housing facility for veterans and seniors was dedicated this week in Southwest Philadelphia.

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, along with members of his family and a host of public officials, dedicated a new facility for veterans and seniors this week that will help alleviate homelessness.

Named after the senator’s father, a veteran of the Korean War and a political trail blazer in the city, the new 61-unit Hardy Williams Veterans Center will serve former soldiers in need. The dedication ceremony included a barbecue and gave the public the first look at the new facility, which will be operated by HELP USA.

The center, located at 7100 Grovers Ave., will open for residents in February.

Williams and HELP USA unveiled the designs for the Hardy Williams Veterans Center one year ago on Veterans Day. The new facility was built for veterans age 55 and over at a cost of $14 million in public and private funds.

Steve Mott, director of strategy and external affairs for the non-profit, said a majority of the funding came from low-income housing tax credits. It is the fourth Philadelphia-based facility to be operated by the national nonprofit organization.

“Speaking on behalf of my constituents and the city as a whole, I am thankful to HELP USA and its ongoing efforts to serve and honor our veterans,” Williams said. “Speaking as a proud son of a veteran, I’m thrilled that this aspect of my father’s legacy is being recognized this way. He was devoted to service, much like the members of HELP USA.”

U.S. Rep. Brady said the center is the result of a cooperative effort between the community and the private and public sectors.

“The Hardy Williams Veterans Center at HELP Philadelphia IV is the place that cooperation built,” Brady said. “This is an example of what can be done when we work together. This is our way of showing these veterans who served our country faithfully to keep us safe, that we thank them for their service. Federal, state and local governments, the private sector and of course HELP USA came together in the spirit of cooperation to give a helping hand to our veterans in their hour of need.”

HELP USA is a non-profit organization that provides housing but also needed programs and services for homeless and seniors. The organization operates in some of the nation’s most underserved communities. HELP USA operates three additional facilities in Philadelphia: the Philadelphia Homes & Brady Veterans Center, Genesis Square Apartments, and the Genesis Square Townhouses.

“HELP USA is proud to be delivering, once again, good news on Veterans Day for Veterans in Philadelphia. Our mission is to continue to do so in the future as well,” said HELP USA CEO and president, Dr. Thomas Hameline.

Hameline said the organization will continue its commitment to veterans with another planned housing development for low- and moderate-income veterans age 55 and over in North Philadelphia. Upon achieving financing, the fifth housing development will break ground in late 2015 and have 56 units when completed.

“We’re celebrating HELP USA’s exemplary work for homeless senior veterans at The Hardy Williams Veterans Center,” said Debbie Burkart, national vice president of supportive housing for National Equity Fund, the project’s LIHTC or low-income housing tax credit syndicator. “It takes vision and commitment to change people’s lives for the better and HELP USA as well as partners such as Citi Community Development and Met Life Foundation are doing just that, changing the lives of men and women who served our country and now need our help.”

Contact staff writer Larry Miller

at (215) 893-5782

or lmiller@phillytrib.com

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