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New residence for homeless vets set to be built on Brockton VA campus

Howard Househandout

Brockton will soon be host to a new residence for area veterans facing hard times, through the help of state and federal funds.

Two developers and two nonprofits are jointly working on the $7 million conversion of a building on the campus of the US Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Brockton to 14 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless vets.

The project, set to begin construction this spring, is being carried out with the help of $2.5 million in recently awarded state subsidies. The financing also includes state and federal historic tax credits, federal funds awarded by the Brockton Redevelopment Authority and the VA, and private donations.


Braintree-based Peabody Properties will oversee the development and manage the residence, while Beverly-based Windover Construction will serve as general contractor.

Father Bill’s & MainSpring, the Brockton-based organization that provides shelter, housing, and other services to the homeless, will provide the support services to the tenants, while Braintree-based Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative is assisting with the financing.

“It’s proven to be a very effective type of housing and it has been largely missing from the continuum of options for homeless vets, so we are very excited about it,” said Betsy Collins, project manager for Peabody Properties.

The partner groups were chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs through competitive bidding. The project is part of a national itiative by the agency to convert underused buildings on its campuses to housing to help end the problem of homelessness among veterans.

The selected bid also calls for Windover, Peabody Properties, and Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative to develop 70 housing units for homeless veterans on the VA hospital campus in Bedford, a project set to begin early next month.

The Brockton building, Howard House, was constructed in 1924 to provide housing for aging men from Brockton. The two-story brick structure was later acquired by the VA and has most recently been used for storage and office space. The VA is now leasing the property to the four partner groups for 75 years for a nominal fee.


As a historic renovation, the project calls for the full restoration of the building’s exterior.

The residence will feature 14 furnished efficiency apartments, along with a common area for the veterans to meet and a shared computer lab. The future tenants will pay 30 percent of their income in rent through federal rental subsidies provided by the Brockton Housing Authority.

“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Peter Gourdeau, project executive for Windover, “because it’s a chance to build a very interesting historic renovation project while also doing tremendous good for a very deserving group of people.”

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.