Affordable apartments for veterans will be built in north Sarasota

·2 min read
Florida Veterans for Common Sense walk in the 2019 Veterans Day Parade on Main Street in Sarasota. The non-profit's president praised a plan to build affordable housing  for veterans at Tuesday's City Commission meeting.
Florida Veterans for Common Sense walk in the 2019 Veterans Day Parade on Main Street in Sarasota. The non-profit's president praised a plan to build affordable housing for veterans at Tuesday's City Commission meeting.

A nonprofit is planning to build affordable housing in Sarasota for low-income veterans.

St. Petersburg-based St. Vincent de Paul CARES plans to construct 10 apartment units on 25th Street in Newtown.

“This may not be a huge project – unless you’re one of the veterans that is going to be living there,” said Jon Thaxton, a long-time housing advocate and executive with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “And then it is indeed a very huge project for them.”

The Sarasota City Commission agreed on Tuesday to give St. Vincent de Paul CARES land the city owns at 1529 and 1539 25th Street so the organization can build apartments there.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation will provide much of the funding needed to build the units, and Sarasota will also contribute money, according to a city document.

An opportunity to assist veterans

William Sterbinsky, an attorney advocate for veterans, told the City Commission that he has seen veterans sleeping in their vehicles near a VA outpatient clinic.

“Oftentimes, I will offer water, coffee or whatever I can,” he said, “or even just an opportunity to talk to some of these folks. And a lot of them are transitioning to Sarasota because they’ve heard about the positive impacts on other people’s lives in Sarasota.”

The St. Vincent de Paul CARES project will provide a home for several low-income veterans. Many of the residents will use federal housing vouchers to help pay their rent, according to Thaxton.

Gene Jones, the president of the nonprofit Florida Veterans for Common Sense, praised the plan to build affordable housing for veterans.

"These 10 veterans, for them, when they go into this housing, that's going to make all the difference," he told the commission. "And some of these veterans have children, too, so that's very important."

Thaxton said that St. Vincent de Paul CARES will provide veterans with services while they live at the property, such as helping them find sustainable employment and gain access to mental health services.

When the veterans are ready, they will move out of the building and move into market-rate housing.

Anne Snabes covers city and county government for the Herald-Tribune. You can contact her at asnabes@gannett.com or (941) 228-3321 and follow her on Twitter at @a_snabes.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Affordable housing Sarasota: new apartments to be built for veterans

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