MetLife will provide $40 million in equity capital and a $500,000 grant through the MetLife Foundation to LISC and its affiliate, the National Equity Fund, to develop supportive housing and related facilities focused on the unique needs of veterans and streamline future development of veterans' housing among state and national housing programs.
Building on long-standing relationships, the partnership is part of a broader LISC/NEF initiative launched in 2007 to facilitate and fund affordable housing for retired military personnel. The new partnership will focus initially on veterans in and around Lyons, New Jersey, with MetLife providing $8.4 million to develop Valley Brook Village, a sixty-two-unit development that will offer area veterans affordable housing and support services such as health care and job placement. Additional projects in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are in development.
Recent data show that veterans comprise more than 20 percent of the national homeless population. "The reason we continue to have staggering numbers of homeless veterans is not because there aren't proven models to help them," said Debbie Burkart, who leads homeless veterans work at LISC/NEF. "We know permanent supportive housing works. Our challenge is to help coordinate statutes and regulations so we can develop more of these projects and to assemble the private resources we need to have a significant impact. MetLife's commitment goes a long way toward moving both of those efforts forward."