Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are over 100,000 homeless veterans in the country. Typical solutions to remedy veteran homelessness include placing them in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but these solutions often are only temporary. iBerkshires.com reports that there is a long-term solution offered in western Massachusetts: a special residential community in Pittsfield offering veterans a place to live and build equity. The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community, named after the former deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs and Pittsfield native, consists of one-bedroom and studio residences veterans can own with a $2,500 down payment and monthly installments. Thirty-nine qualified veterans were chosen to be a part of the community and will move into their residences in the coming weeks. As long as the residents make their payments -- through disability checks or other sources of income -- they will own a part of the community and build home equity. The community was built close to a veterans’ shelter, so residents will also have easy access to an array of support services. The residential project was funded by a congressional earmark, state grants and local donations.