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Beverly Adds 46 Housing Units for Homeless Veterans

Two new housing developments near the Beverly train station will add 46 units of affordable housing for homeless veterans, who will also have access to job training, mental health counseling, and other support services.

North Shore Veterans Counseling Services, a private nonprofit, is opening 14 single rooms at its new location at 45 Broadway, a former rooming house it purchased for $400,000 from Windover Construction of Manchester-by-the-Sea.

An outreach center, offering drug and alcohol awareness counseling and post-traumatic stress disorder counseling to veterans across the region, will also relocate from the veterans center’s former facility at 9 Park St., said Lynn Pellino, executive director.

“This is going to be a much better building for us,” Pellino said. “The rooms are nicer, and we’ll have better space for our group counseling.”

Separately, Windover in June plans to open 32 studio apartments in a former box factory at 60 Pleasant St. The $7.4 million project — financed with a mix of private and public investment — will be managed by Peabody Properties of Braintree.

Mayor William F. Scanlon said the two projects should help veterans and downtown development.

“I think Beverly is sympathetic to the needs of veterans,” Scanlon said. “Both these buildings had been vacant for a long time. We’re optimistic that this will turn out to be a good thing.”

The projects come amid a new state effort to end homelessness among veterans in Massachusetts by 2015. Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray in March announced a plan to build at least 250 supportive housing units, and add 700 federal housing vouchers to place veterans in permanent housing.

The state had 1,181 homeless veterans in 2012, including 68 in Essex County, according to the most recent federal data.

Jerry Guilebbe, Beverly veterans director, said the housing will create opportunity for veterans from across the region.

“I try to monitor Beverly veterans, and I think we have maybe one or two who are homeless,” Guilebbe said. “But I’ve seen a wide range of veterans, from all over the North Shore, looking for help. Now there is going to be a lot of opportunity for them.”

The Pleasant Street project is one of the first community-based supportive housing developments being built in Massachusetts for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Mental health counseling, job training, and education will be provided at the facilty, which will be staffed by a resident property manager, a case manager, and a service coordinator.

“It’s a way for a homeless veteran to start living independently, while still having support in the building,” said Lee Dellicker, president of Windover Construction.

The Veterans Administration office in Bedford is reviewing applications from potential tenants, said Betsy Collins, senior project manager at Peabody Properties.

“We’re looking to have people move in in June,” Collins said. “We’re reviewing referrals for the project now.”

Monthly rent for each unit will be about $900, but veterans will be charged only 30 percent of their income. The balance will be covered by state and federal housing subsidies, Collins said.

Windover has invested $1.8 million in real estate and predevelopment costs, Dellicker said. The project has also received $2.5 million in housing subsidies from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, and $275,000 in federal low-income housing tax credits, according to the state.

The four-story building, a red-brick factory dating to the late 1800s, has also received $1 million in state historic preservation tax credits. On June 12, the Massachusetts Historic District Commission is expected to vote on creating a historic designation for the area around the Beverly train station, which would make the project eligible for more preservation tax credits, Dellicker said.

Windover had a hand in helping North Shore Veterans Counseling Services relocate to Broadway. The center was based at the former Press Box bar at 9 Park St., a property long sought by Windover to gain control of an entire city block along Rantoul, Park, and Pleasant streets, and Railroad Avenue.

Windover owned the former rooming house at 45 Broadway. The developer proposed a sale/ swap of the two properties. Windover paid North Shore Veterans Counseling $800,000 for its Park Street property, and the agency paid Windover $400,000 for the house at 45 Broadway, Pellino said.

The nonprofit invested $200,000 to renovate the building into 14 single rooms with private baths. Common areas include a kitchen, TV room, and laundry facilities. Six veterans moved into the new facility from Park Street on Monday. Pellino said she hopes to rent the other eight rooms soon.

The monthly rent is $700, including utilities. Most residents are eligible for state housing subsidies for veterans, she said. Counseling is available at night for residents, and during the day and Saturday mornings for veterans living elsewhere.

“We work with any veteran who comes to the door,” Pellino said. “And if you’re a veteran who is homeless, or in danger of losing your home, you can come live here too.”

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