April 4 was a big day in Middletown — long-awaited housing for homeless vets got underway with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Shepherd Home on the CT Valley Hospital campus. The historic (and until recently abandoned) building will be restored to its former 1920s glory, and include 32 units of permanent supportive housing for veterans.
Plans call for 26 one-bedroom and six studio-leased apartments. Significant work will be focused on restoring the portico on the western side of the building and replacing an existing ramp system on the eastern side with an accessible ground-level entrance.
Until 2013, the building provided temporary housing for homeless adults. A collaboration of public, private, and nonprofit groups worked to ensure the historic property was preserved and put back into service for those needing shelter or affordable housing.
Columbus House, a New-Haven-based nonprofit serving the homeless, is the project developer, and will be relying on the expertise of partners such as: Northeast Collaborative Architects, DeMarco Management Corporation, St. Vincent de Paul Middletown, Brad Schide, LLC, and Enterprise Builders.
Honored guests are the groundbreaking were: the Honorable Matt Lesser, CT Representative, 100th District; the Honorable Daniel Drew, Mayor of Middletown; Karl Kilduff, Executive Director, CT Housing Finance Authority; Kristina Newman-Scott, State Historic Preservation Officer, CT Department of Economic Development; Commissioner Thomas Saadi, CT Department of Veterans Affairs; Philip Cacciola, US Army Reserve Colonel (Retired); Howard Reid, Steering Committee Chairperson, the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness; William Vasiliou, Executive Director, Middletown Housing Authority; Sebastian Giuliano, Minority Leader, Middletown Council; and Alison Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, Columbus House, Inc.
Once the dignitaries’ shovels hit the ground, work was officially underway to bring the structure back to life. Developers expect to have units ready for vets in about one year.