Chelmsford has over 3,000 civilian veterans living within the community. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, we will see an increase in the number of veterans returning to Chelmsford seeking affordable housing. Currently, we have 18 veterans on our waiting list seeking housing at our State Housing Developments. As we provide a veteran’s preference to these applicants and only have about 12 to 16 units available each year — the wait is typically over a year. If every unit that becomes vacant is offered to a veteran —- the wait for local residents in need of elderly/disabled housing keeps growing. Our waiting list for rental subsidies has over 1,000 applicants with a local preference. Our proposal is to add units that we own and manage.
The waiting list for the housing at McFarlin Manor, Chelmsford Arms and Delaney Terrace is as follows:
1-2 years for a local veteran
3 -5 years for a local resident (non-veteran)
By increasing the number of units we have for our veterans, we will be providing greater opportunities for all of the applicants on our elderly/disabled waiting list. The veterans that we house in our existing developments can range in age from 18 to 100+. They all must pass a Criminal Background Check, Sex Offender Check and agree to abide by a strict set of rules and regulations. They go through a process more stringent than most private landlords conduct. The new residents living in a new veterans development will be similar to the ones we have been housing for the past three decades.
The Chelmsford Housing Authority’s Increase in Demand and Emergencies
For Elderly/Disabled Housing
Veterans in Housing at Existing CHA
This site is in a great location for residents to access an array of community services, such as bus transportation, grocery stores and department stores. These amenities are easily reached by walking or a short drive. The neighborhood is rich in diversity and features duplexes, a multifamily dwelling with over 30 units, a shopping mall across the way and commercial businesses next door.
This neighborhood is currently zoned for commercial use. Some have raised concerns that if this project moves forward their own home may be torn down for the same purpose. You may rest assured that this will not be the case. This site was selected for its unique location within a commercial zone, the acquisition price of $200,000, and the commitment of the seller to see this built as Veteran’s Housing. The seller, Charlie Wojtas, and his two siblings are all veterans and he agreed to sell the land if we focused on helping veterans.
The residents moving into this development will look like the ones we have been housing for three decades at our existing buildings. We are proposing long-term housing and NOT a shelter. The building will be two stories and look like a home. There will be a front and side doors and each floor will have four bedrooms.
As there will be a mix of ages, we anticipate that on-site service delivery similar to the ones we provide in our existing buildings will support our frail elderly veterans or those who may have mobility issues and are using wheelchairs.
We are committed to helping our veterans live independently and be part of our community. As such, this will not be a site that has support staff living there or providing 24-hour care. It will be like a regular home where people may receive a variety of supportive services, such as transportation to doctor’s appointments, home health care and home-making. We will reach out to local service agencies to provide these services on an as-needed basis.
We have hired an architect that will be designing the Chelmsford Manahan Street site along with the Westford Carlisle Road site. Both buildings are being designed to provide housing opportunities to the veterans that have served our country. The Carlisle Road Project was well-received at the Westford Town Meeting, where they unanimously voted to support $400,000 for their Veteran’s Project. We are kindly asking for your support at Town Meeting for the Chelmsford Veteran’s Project.
There will be a local process to accept input from neighbors, various boards, veterans and other interested parties. We will be using CHA funds currently on hand to purchase the land and hope that you will join us in support of this valuable project. The $400,000 will be more than matched with State funds. We will have a public process to solicit input on the design of the building to make sure that it fits within the scale and look of the neighborhood.
If you have specific questions, please email me at email@example.com. I welcome your input and the opportunity to address any future concerns that may arise.