On September 15, another strategic initiative was launched when Brighton Marine opened a new facility for 25 Veterans who can now call our campus home.
Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine, formerly known as Building 9, is an affordable housing facility featuring 25 apartments specifically for vulnerable Boston-area Veterans. The facility is fitted with state-of-the-art conferencing technology to support telehealth needs for Veteran residents. Each unit is fully furnished and includes a kitchen and private bathrooms.
This effort would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Boston Housing Authority, Boston Veterans’ Services, VA Boston Healthcare and Soldier On. The permanent, affordable housing and supportive services are available to Veterans residents under the HUD-VASH program. In addition to the services provided through the VA, the Veterans Housing program at Brighton Marine provides Veterans with comprehensive case management and wraparound services delivered on and off campus – including primary and mental health care, and if needed, substance abuse counseling – to help Veteran residents further their recovery while achieving housing security and independence.
Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine has been praised by City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for its efforts to combat Veteran homelessness.
“The City of Boston is incredibly lucky to have a network of providers that delivers among the most high-quality and comprehensive services for homeless individuals in the United States,” said Mayor Walsh. “We are proud of the fact that we have one of the highest sheltering rates in the nation. Brighton Marine is a great example of the work being done to help these individuals who have served our country. I thank all of our partners.”
Housing is only one component of the care that Veterans receive as tenants of the Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine. In addition to an assigned VA Social Worker, they also have full access to every partner and program within the Coordinated Veterans Service network and Soldier On, from financial coaches to addiction treatment counselors. While these external partnerships are uncommon in most affordable housing programs for Veterans, this level of support is crucial to ensure the long-term success of vulnerable Veterans.
“This supports the ability to really address all of the issues a person is a facing,” said Bruce Buckley, CEO of Soldier On, to the Boston Globe. “If you address most but not all of them, we’ve found, it doesn’t really provide a working solution.”
Brighton Marine’s on-campus tenants and partners are equally excited by the opportunities that Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine provides its residents. “This initiative resonates with me because Brighton Marine allows my clinic to be a home for the community,” said Irene Piryatinsky, whose Neuropsychological Evaluation Clinic is a tenant and partner on Brighton Marine’s campus. “We provide a safe environment for our patients and Brighton Marine creates the same environment for others. We train the Veterans who work here to care for patients, and in turn they use this training to develop support plans for other Veterans in Brighton Marine’s network. We’re grateful to be part of this unique opportunity.”
“As a partner with Brighton Marine since the beginning, we share a common goal of supporting the well-being of the local military community,” said Michael Burcell of US Family Health Plan, another tenant and partner of Brighton Marine. “We are excited to see the changes on the campus that are benefiting veterans in need.”
As residents move into their apartments and adjust to new surroundings, they’ve found great support and comfort in Brighton Marine’s community.
“At my age — at 62 — it’s the first time living alone, by myself, so I’m very much enjoying it,” said Jackie McDonald, a new Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine resident, to WCVB. “In the last two years I know a lot of people have worried about me, you know, where I’m at, but they don’t have to worry anymore.”
“This apartment is a blessing; I’m grateful…. They give us everything we need; I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Brad Stephens, another Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine resident. “I got a food box, we don’t pay for electric or gas, we have free cable, everything is brand new. I’m just happy about it. I’m a grateful man today.”
Current residents range in age from 31 to 84. Using vouchers awarded to the Boston Housing Authority from federal government, monthly rent and support services are funded for as long as tenants need.
“We at Soldier On are honored and excited to be included in the Brighton Marine veterans housing development. The men and women who served our country were there when we needed them, and we are here for them when they need a home and a community to be a part of,” said Buckley. “We are grateful for Brighton Marine, their Board of Directors, the City of Boston, and all the other community partners to allow us to serve the veterans in this joint effort.”
This initiative would not have been possible without our incredible partners, including Rockland Trust and Comcast.
“Rockland Trust is delighted to support Brighton Marine with a $7 million Revolving Line of Credit and contribute to a project that is transformational in the lives of its residents,” said Matt Verhamme, Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at Rockland Trust. “We are proud to play a role in providing veterans with critical housing and connections to essential services while strengthening the Brighton community.”
Thank you for your continued work in supporting our Veterans!
While we are thrilled by the opportunity the Veterans Housing at Brighton Marine provides the Veteran community, our work does not end here. Brighton Marine remains committed to treating the issues faced by Veterans, reservists, active-duty military, and their families. We will continue to seek out additional avenues of assistance.