HELP WALTER REED VETERANS APARTMENTS
The HELP Walter Reed Veterans Apartments provides permanent supportive housing to 77 homeless military veterans on what was once the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus in Northwest Washington, D.C. The Center was decommissioned in 2011 after more than a century of service to American soldiers and veterans.
In 2016, the U.S. Army sold two-thirds of the 110-acre site to the city, which has since then led a comprehensive plan to repurpose the land as The Parks at Walter Reed, with new housing, retail and services. The remainder of the former campus is earmarked for a children’s health research facility and foreign mission office complex.
The newly renovated HELP Walter Reed Veterans Apartments project occupies part of the former Abrams Hall, a building that had long provided convalescent care for soldiers who did not need critical care but were not yet ready for discharge. HELP USA, developer of the project, assembled a range of financing and partners to support the effort, including District of Columbia commitments of more than $10 million in CDBG funds, 4% Housing Credits facilitated by the National Equity Fund (NEF), project-based Local Rental Supplement Program (LSRP) vouchers, and funding to support the full-time social services program.
Notably, HELP USA made a strategic decision to not seek project-based HUD VASH vouchers as part of its funding. It wanted to be sure the project could house and provide services to those veterans with the greatest needs, regardless of their status with the Veterans Administration hospital system or whether they were honorably discharged from the military. Though the VASH program has been instrumental in drastically reducing the number of homeless veterans, there remain those who do not qualify and need housing and support. HELP Walter Reed aims to address that gap.
The project was designed with the delivery of social services as a guide. On the ground floor, residents walk by the social service suite, fireplace lounge, property management, and the nurse’s office prior to getting to the elevator. These spaces are either open or have large glass windows for transparency and allow the social services staff to interact with residents regularly. Services include case management, mental health, and substance abuse counseling, entitlement management, vocational training, on-site health care, and social programming. The project also includes 24×7 live security, a theater room, gym, quiet lounge/library, computer area, large courtyard for gatherings, and laundry facilities on each floor.
Photos and property details compliments of NEF.