MERRILLVILLE — The town could be a landing spot for a proposed housing development for low-income and homeless veterans.
Neli Vazquez Rowland, president of A Safe Haven, said her organization is pursuing the project.
Rowland said it's in the “really, really early stages.” A Safe Haven is looking for properties where the development could locate, but a site hasn’t been selected. The organization also has started pursuing funding for the facility that would provide on-site support services to veterans there.
“It's going to be a process,” Rowland said.
A Safe Haven would like the facility to be as close as possible to the Adam Benjamin Jr. Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic near 93rd Avenue and Broadway in Crown Point.
Town Council President Richard Hardaway said there is undeveloped land in Merrillville near that intersection.
He said constructing the veterans housing there would be ideal so veterans could walk to the clinic.
The Town Council believes the facility would be an asset in Merrillville if it’s built there, and the panel is researching the potential to provide financial support for the project. The council also sent a letter to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority encouraging it to explore options to help fund the project.
Rowland said the proposed veterans housing facility would include at least 75 units, but it could be larger if sufficient funding is secured.
She said there is a “huge need” for veterans housing in Indiana, and A Safe Haven is “super excited about the possibilities to alleviate poverty and homelessness issues.”
There isn't yet a schedule for the construction of a facility.
“Some projects move faster than others,” Rowland said.
Councilwoman Chrissy Barron said she is excited about the possibility of the project coming to the town.
She said veterans deserve honor and support, and it's horrible there are people who put their lives on the line for their country, but they are now homeless or not getting the treatment they need.
“We should be doing more for our veterans,” Barron said.