Veteran’s Village planned for Clermont County

BATAVIA, OH (May 19, 2023) – The Board Clermont County Board of Commissioners and Clermont Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) today announced plans for a Veteran’s Village in Clermont County to address gaps in housing and services for veterans.

“We know of no other facility like this in the area,” said Bonnie Batchler, President, Board of County Commissioners. “We hope this will serve as an example for others around the county.”

The facility is to include 28 cottages/houses and a community center offering wrap-around services from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) for county veterans who are homeless or living in substandard housing. There will be 22 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units for individuals and families. They will range from 700 to 1,100 square feet. They will be fully furnished, with a washer/dryer, broadband access, patio areas and parking spots.

A community center will provide on-site clinical services to individuals who need them, on-site management to address issues that arise, a large gathering space, kitchenette and computer/media area.

Some units will be subsidized, depending on income. Others will be based on a fair market rent.

Plans call for the village to open in Franklin Township/Felicity in the spring of 2025.

On May 17, the Board of County Commissioners gave their support to a proposed Veteran’s Village in Felicity or Franklin Township, reserving $1 million in federal HUD HOME funds for the $4-million project. Commissioners also expressed the board’s support for a Clermont Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) request for $400,000 from the 2024-2025 State of Ohio Budget for the project.

In Clermont County alone, there are 12,000 veterans, with more than 900 facing significant housing instability. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that veterans account for more than eight percent of all adults experiencing homelessness throughout the country.

There simply isn’t enough affordable housing – and, besides high costs, veterans can face barriers such as drug and alcohol history, PTSD and inconsistent rental history. That’s on top of normal barriers to low-income families such as higher rents, a limited landlord pool, and inability to get utilities, transportation and deposits.

Plans are being made to address these barriers. The Clermont County Veteran’s Administration has agreed to provide van services to veterans. Twenty-five percent of the units will be wheelchair accessible. Veterans will have the support of nearby VFW membership.

While the CMHA has an allotment of 40 HUD-VASH vouchers to offer veterans, it has been a struggle to fully utilize them. Nationwide the number of landlords willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HHCV) program is dwindling, and the number of landlords willing to accept an individual with a poor police background check or without consistent rental history is nearly impossible.

CMHA Executive Director Alicia Morlatt said plans originated from the mutual frustration shared by staff of the Veteran’s Administration and CMHA.

“Our veterans have served us,” Batchler said. “Now, it’s our turn to serve them.”