Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), along with business and community leaders and residents, officially broke ground Aug. 16 on Liberty Place, a 32-unit permanent supportive housing development for veterans.
The development, which is located at 3627 Division St. in West Knoxville, is KCDC’s first housing site specifically for veterans and will provide one-bedroom units to veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.
“Liberty Place will provide essential housing for veterans who need assistance to stabilize their life and living accommodations,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “It’s important that these residents also have the resources to maintain that stability. We’re committed to not only providing a safe, quality home, but also a place that can provide supportive services.”
Funding sources for the $15 million project include $2 million in federal funds; $500,000 in affordable housing funds from the City of Knoxville; $7.1 million in tax credits from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA); $1 million from the HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program (HOME-ARP); and land donated by Knox County. Wells Fargo is providing both construction and permanent debt and First Horizon Bank is providing tax credit equity.
“Today is a day for celebration as we begin a project that provides much-needed assistance for veterans in Knoxville experiencing housing challenges,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “With a roof over their heads and a supportive community, these individuals can begin the process of regaining personal stability and ultimately, thriving. I am grateful to all the partners who are making it possible to build the kind of housing that is effective in ending homelessness in veterans’ lives.”
Liberty Place residents also will be participants in the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program, which is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to move veterans and their families out of homelessness and into permanent housing.
The VA will have offices onsite to offer case management services to residents that include coordination of medical services and community resources. The combination of intensive case management and long-term housing assistance will provide robust resources.
“Our veterans served and sacrificed for our country, and we need to take care of them in return,” U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett said. “Liberty Place provides a roof over the heads of veterans in need and brings them some much-needed services. I’m proud to support their efforts, and I look forward to coming to the official opening of Liberty Place to personally thank our veterans.”
Construction for Liberty Place will take approximately 16 months and will consist of 15 fully accessible ADA units.
“Liberty Place is an example of multiple entities working together to find the best solution,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “Veterans will receive permanent and stable housing in a community that serves their needs. On behalf of Knox County, I am glad we had a role in the process.”
The units, with accessibility at the forefront of design, will be fully furnished and will also include utilities and conveniences such as walk-in showers and on-site maintenance. KCDC is partnering with Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to include solar panels and higher efficiency equipment including heat pump water heaters, which are firsts for the organization’s housing developments. All equipment and solar panels will be monitored on an ongoing basis to track performance and efficiency data. Additional partners include local civic groups that will provide the soft goods for each unit.
The architect for Liberty Place is BarberMcMurry with Jenkins & Stiles as general contractor.