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As we honor and give thanks to the men and women who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard this Veterans Day, we also want to shine a light on how we can contribute and do more for the military community. Veterans leave the armed forces with skills that should be transferrable to the job market, yet one-third of college-educated veterans are underemployed with 70% more likely to take a step back in seniority upon leaving the military, according to a new analysis of LinkedIn data.
Affordable housing and job placement services are critical for veterans as they face a challenging civilian job market, especially since over 26,000 veterans in LA County are living in poverty1. This is why the Cesar Chavez Foundation and New Directions for Veterans (NDVets) worked together to develop Ybarra Village, the new community developed specifically for those who served our country and seniors. The property is expected to begin occupancy early December and be fully leased by the end of this month.
The Cesar Chavez Foundation was established in 1962 as the National Farm Workers Association and has worked tirelessly to build homes for farmworkers, low-income Latino families as well as other low-income families. In its over 40 years of existence, the Foundation has produced over 4,800 units of affordable housing. All of the Foundation’s properties pay special attention to their residents by providing social services, early childhood education, and health and wellness programs for seniors.
New Directions for Veterans (NDVets) was founded by two formerly homeless Vietnam veterans and a local advocate for homeless persons. The organization began in a five-bedroom home serving eight homeless Vietnam veterans. Now, they operate four Transitional Housing Programs. These are rapid re-housing programs and a homelessness prevention initiative known as Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF). NDVets are also responsible for four Permanent Supportive Housing Facilities (PSH) facilities in Los Angeles County with expansion promises in the pipeline. They provide a number of services to Veterans that include substance abuse treatment, counseling, remedial education, job training, job placements, parenting and money management courses. Veterans are provided with a savings account, housing, income, and computer skills. This organization aims to build the confidence of its veterans as well as provide necessary tools to have an enhanced life.
Ybarra Village comprises 64 units, of which 36 are reserved for homeless veterans, including those with special needs, and 27 units are set aside for seniors with a preference for senior veterans. On-site are amenities for the residents, such as a community garden, a fitness center, and community rooms. The community rooms will host social services for the residents, like wellness programs, computer training, money management, job training, veteran benefits assistance, and veteran-specific legal assistance. Residents will also have easy access to assistance with medical and dental healthcare thanks to a partnership with Veterans Affairs.
A true ode to our veterans and seniors, Ybarra Village has the ability to change lives for low-income veterans. This development is one of the steps being taken to help underserved communities and improve the quality of life for our veterans and seniors. LISC LA invested $2.3 million in predevelopment dollars in Ybarra Village. Our work is made possible by supporters like U.S. Bank.
1 2000 U.S. Census, Summary File 3; 2010 U.S. Census Summary File 1; 2008-2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS); 2013-2017 U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS)