GARY — Robert Farmer hopes that this spring he can have veterans in eight new modular homes his organization is having constructed in property being donated to the organization by the city.
Farmer, the executive director of Webb House Inc., said he hopes this week to pay the final $1,115 in fees required before the city transfers the property over to the organization. The fees will be used to reimburse the fund use for demolition of abandoned structures in the city.
Last year, the city demolished 302 structures thanks to funding they received through the Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program, according to the city's Department of Planning and Redevelopment. Another 150 structures are in the pipeline, according to Joseph van Dyk, head of the department.
Farmer hopes the first structure will be constructed by the end of the month dependent on the weather, with the others to follow in quick succession. He is hoping that some of the homes will be used by veterans who were displaced when the Gerry Park Mobile Home Park was sold. The former site of the mobile home park is expected to be part of a planned travel center being planned in the Black Oak section of the city and the housing planned by Farmer's group will also be in that area.
Farmer said the houses will be near his organization's headquarters and that will make it easier to provide the veterans with additional assistance if needed.
Farmer also has to deliver a landscaping plan to the city. City Council President Ron Brewer asked about the plan at the last council meeting and said he wanted to make sure that the landscaping in the area was uniform. Brewer said he will be keeping an eye on the program as it progresses.
"I do think that our veterans deserve decent housing and to be treated with respect and dignity," Brewer said.
Farmer said the modular home will be a 1,700-square-foot structure with three bedrooms and two baths that will be put together on site. He said one of the advantages of the modular home as opposed to a rehab is that it will come with a warranty. The veteran will be responsible for paying the mortgage on the home, but Farmer estimated payments will be about a few hundred dollars a month. The first veteran to be housed here is a Gulf War veteran who said she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.