Homeless Veterans Facility in Limbo
Alachua county's planned facility for homeless veterans has stirred controversy; specifically regarding it's location.
Some feel the Tower and Newberry road area would hurt nearby businesses.
However officials with the agency behind the facility say this location was the only one that fit the bill- a bill they can't afford without federal dollars that may be going elsewhere.
"It's over, a 112 beds for veterans in Alachua county are gone," said Gail Monahan, ACHA Director. A statement that will be true, she said, if the feds say, "no," an answer that's on it's way to the Alachua County Housing Authority.
"Do they want us to pursue it, or do they want us to drop it," she said.
The county's transitional housing facility for homeless veterans is in limbo. Monahan says she's waiting on word from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Monahan asked the VA for more time to get $1.9 million on the streets-a federal grant the VA may move elsewhere.
"I have to tell you that we were very shocked to have this much opposition to a veterans facility," she said.
The housing facility is at the center of a lawsuit.
"We don't want them there," said Terry Martin-Back, a business owner who has joined Napolatano's Restaurant on a lawsuit challenging the county's approval of a special-use permit for the facility.
"We're suing the county commission- they made their decision based on information that didn't follow the comprehensive plan," he said.
The lawsuit may overturn the county's original decision, meaning the facility would become a vacant hotel on the market.
"There's a cloud out there; if we win our lawsuit then it reverts back to what the original zoning was, and it couldn't be used as the veterans transitional housing facility," he said.
Monahan says the special use permit was done correctly but the lawsuit may push the federal money to a place it can be used right away.
"We would certainly take a long hard look before we looked into it again, and the other thing is-if we got money in two or three years, the market is going to change we probably can't find anything for the price," she said.
A purchase agreement with the lending bank that bought the property for the facility has not been reached, and board members decided if there's no progress on that or the federal funding agreement by their September 7th meeting- they'll drop plans for the transitional housing facility all together.
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