When Crystal Dunkin returned home after her time as an explosives expert with the Air Force, she said she wasn’t prepared to live as a civilian.
She experienced homelessness on and off for 10 to 12 years. She had to give up her car, meaning even the most basic errands required a trip on the bus. Grocery shopping would take her four hours because of the bus schedule.
That’s why to her, Valor Pointe would have meant the world. The 27-unit apartment complex will offer homes for veterans and also include access to services for veterans.
Speaking with her blind Chihuahua/Miniature Pinscher mix, Halo, in her hands, Dunkin addressed dozens of people who attended Monday morning’s ceremonial groundbreaking. She said a facility like Valor Pointe could have helped her work through problems with substance abuse and mental health after her time serving her country.
“Having one place to call home while you’re being supported on-site is going to do wonders for our homeless vets we have now,” Dunkin told the crowd.
She struggled to find stable housing, especially after a landlord refused to renew a lease, she told the Statesman after the groundbreaking. She ended up in a hotel before landing in a duplex and then finally, after years of experiencing homelessness on and off, she started paying normal market rate for rent.
Dunkin now makes it her goal to rally on the behalf of other veterans who are facing some of the problems she did when returning home. Her end goal is to be able to use the home loan program she is eligible for through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
She was not the only one to laud the groundbreaking. Several government officials attended the event, including Mayor David Bieter, several members of the Boise City Council and Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo. Officials from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing as well as from the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority also addressed the crowd.
How much will Valor Pointe cost?
In total, Valor Pointe is expected to cost about $6 million. The funding comes primarily from low-income housing tax credits from the housing association, while the housing authority will provide ongoing funding through the 27-unit apartment complex voucher system.
The city of Boise is providing a loan through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program as well as money from its general fund. Additional funds are from a fundraiser in partnership with Together Treasure Valley, the Micron Foundation and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.
Valor Pointe is expected to be completed in 2020. Located on West State Street, it will offer health care services, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment services. In the building, there will be space for 26 veterans and a live-in manager. Each unit is one bedroom, one bathroom, with an open floor plan and private balconies and patios. Two units will be fully accessible while the rest will be adaptable.
Other amenities in the building include a community lounge, a computer lab, on-site laundry, a fitness room and a therapeutic garden.