July 2014: Finding housing for veterans has become a growing challenge in the Commonwealth. But one South Shore town is tapping their community preservation funds to make sure veterans have an affordable place to live. Hingham recently used $250,000 of its CPA budget to construct of six units of affordable supportive housing for veterans. In August 2010 the non-profit group Father Bill’s and MainSpring (FBMS) acquired 111-113 Fort Hill Street in Hingham with the intention to create permanent affordable housing for veterans on the site. FBMS is a South Shore organization that provides services and housing for the homeless.
The project required demolishing and rebuilding the existing structure within the same footprint over a period of two years. The new house was designed to compliment the architecture of the surrounding residential neighborhood and contains two bedrooms, common kitchen/living/dining/bath, laundry areas, and a counseling office (all handicapped accessible) on the first floor and four bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. The Commander Paul Anderson House was opened and dedicated in May of 2012.
Tenants are required to pay rent totaling 30% of their gross income. Educational programs teach employment and independent living skills necessary to transition from homelessness to community living. Tenants also have access to healthcare, behavioral health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, life skills and vocational services, through FBMS and a network of collaborating service providers. Case management services will include both individual support and group classes to address shared concerns specific to veterans.