Ribbon-Cutting Celebrates 'Homes for Heroes' Apartments For Vets

ORANGETOWN, NY — The newest addition to the Homes for Heroes Veterans Apartments was, 14 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans located on the former Camp Shanks military station, was officially opened Wednesday.

“The Governor of New York visited the Rockland Homes For Heroes site in Orangetown where 14 apartments for homeless veterans were constructed on the former Camp Shanks to see for herself and have a Ribbon Cutting,” Homes for Heroes founder John Murphy told Patch. “They walked around the apartments and had a chance to see the interior of one of the apartments, which are all occupied. It was evident that she was extremely impressed and expressed so to the 30 folks who joined the visit.”

The state provided $4.5 million toward the $5.4 million project, which was developed in partnership with Rockland Homes for Heroes, a nonprofit created to build housing for formerly homeless veterans which has operated eight homes there for nearly a decade.

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“We are building lifetime beautiful homes in a lovely suburban community with fellow veterans as neighbors and comrades. We are saving lives,” Murphy told Patch in November.

The state funding for the project on Western Highway in Tappan came through the New York State Homeless Housing Assistance & Prevention program

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The nonprofit also received many other grants and contributions, Murphy said. That enabled Homes for Heroes to not only almost double the number of apartments in the development, it allowed them to furnish every one. Names are on the donor wall of the website.

“Everything from a spoon to a brand-new bed with a mattress, sheets, pillows. And there will be food in the refrigerator. It will be a HOME,” he said.

Homes for Heroes Veterans Apartments was constructed on land deeded by the federal government specifically for the purpose. The former Camp Shanks in Orangetown was the largest embarkation camp used by the U.S. Army during World War II.

The supportive housing assists veterans who have experienced homelessness from Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties.

“Homelessness and housing insecurity require a holistic approach that connects vulnerable New Yorkers to housing, but also to the services which help ensure they can establish stable lives in their communities,” Hochul said. “We have an obligation to provide essential services to our veterans who have done so much to keep our nation safe and advance the cause of freedom across the globe.”

State support included $3 million from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Homeless Housing and Assistance program, $1.5 million from New York State Homes and Community Renewal Housing Trust Fund and $49,000 from NYSERDA.

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is also providing operating funding through their Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. Support services, provided by Loeb House on-site and through other community organizations, include case management, job readiness training, healthcare, and service coordination inclusive of tenant and veteran treatment providers.

“Supportive housing is a critical and proven tool in helping to stabilize the lives of people who have experienced homelessness, providing access not only to a safe, affordable home but to the supportive services they need to thrive,” Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn said. “Homes for Heroes Veterans Apartments is addressing an important need among veterans in Rockland County and throughout the region.”

“These much-needed housing units are a welcome addition to Rockland County,” State Senator Bill Weber said. “This is yet another great accomplishment for Homes for Heroes, which does selfless work for our veterans, and precisely why I was honored to nominate its founder, John Murphy, to the NYS Veterans Hall of Fame from the 38th Senate District earlier this year.”

Read one of Murphy’s columns about historic Camp Shanks and the origins of Rockland Homes for Heroes, A Very Casual Conversation About Just 7 Acres Of History In Tappan. Check out all his columns on Patch here.

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