A Massachusetts co-operative is leading the way in solving the problem of homelessness among US veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many of these veterans have been left with physical and mental disabilities from their wartime service — and, with too few transitional facilities, many end up on the street.
This is a national crisis, with 275,000 US veterans now homeless — 8,000 in LA alone. A fifth of America’s homeless are veterans, trapped in a vicious Catch 22: if you cannot find a job you are likely to end up homeless, and if you are homeless it is unlikely you will get a job — a problem highlighted by the Prince William and Katherine the Duchess of Cambridge on a recent visit to LA, where they took part in a veterans’ job fair, “Hiring Our Heroes”.
The Massachusetts initiative puts co-operative housing communities, with veterans as members, at the heart of plans to give former soldiers a new start.
United Veterans of America in Massachusetts, also known as Soldier On, has pioneered the use of the limited equity co-op housing model and is involved in the creation of about 360 apartments in three veteran’s co-ops. The limited equity co-op model keeps the apartments permanently affordable.