Proposals sought to provide housing for homeless veterans

RFP issued to rehab historic buildings in Milwaukee Soldiers Home district

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:04 pm

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing a request for proposals from developers interested in rehabilitating six of the unused historic buildings at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center to provide housing for homeless veterans.

Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center-2016-02-18
The Old Main building at the Soldiers Home grounds.

The buildings that would be used are part of the historic buildings in the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District at the VA Medical Center. They include: Building 2 – Old Main, Building 1 – Administration Building, Building 14 – Catholic Chaplains Quarters, and three smaller buildings 18, 19 and 62 – the Personal Quarters Buildings.

The buildings would be returned to service through long-term “enhanced Use Leases,” according to the proposal. The developer would take on the cost of rehabilitation and then provide housing for veterans who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless.

The Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative has identified 200 to 300 homeless veterans in Milwaukee and another 5,500 veterans who are at-risk of becoming homeless.

“Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs took an important step in that direction, and we look forward to a day when veterans will again live at the Milwaukee Soldiers Home,” said Genell Scheurell, a senior field officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Scheurell said since news of the RFP was released at 3 p.m., two developers have already expressed interest in the project. The developer chosen will be eligible for federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits.

“The best way to save historic buildings is to use them,” Scheurell said. “As the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District’s buildings are restored, we believe it is important that they are returned to their original purpose — the service of veterans.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued the request for proposal this week. The proposals are due by May 18.

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