The United States flag was raised by members of the St. Augustine Honor Guard on Nov. 16 in a ceremony celebrating the creation of Patriot Place, a project of Flagler Health+ and St. Johns Housing Partnership that will benefit homeless veterans in the community.
Typically, a homeless veteran will face multiple barriers to find housing, including: navigating a complex system of resources; navigating a competitive housing market with record-high rental prices; pass stringent background-check requirements that often disqualify the veteran; and save enough money to move into a home, which often amounts to more than $4,000.
Thanks to the partnership between St. Johns County Housing Partnership and Flagler Health+, many of these barriers will be removed.
Additionally, Patriot Place will be administered by Flagler Health+’s social health program, Care Connect+, which connects people with vital resources like stable housing, food pantries, counseling services and transportation.
When it opens in early 2022, Patriot Place will be a six-unit complex for at-risk veterans who already live in St. Johns County. Each of the one-bedroom apartments will be 630-square feet.
“As the country’s only hospital to serve as the lead agency for the continuum of care, our team at Flagler Health+ deeply understands the significant impact housing security has on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing,” said Jason Barrett, president and CEO of Flagler Health+. “It is extremely rewarding to see Patriot Place come to life, specifically supporting veterans in our community who have given so much. We are grateful for our alliance with the St. Johns Housing Partnership, all those involved with the Continuum of Care, and many others as we collaborate to end homelessness in St. Johns County.”
“For years, our local veteran’s office has struggled to help local veterans who need a one-bedroom apartment to remain living in St. Johns County,” said Bill Lazar, executive director of the St. Johns Housing Partnership. “Our hope is that this unique partnership with Flagler Health+ will provide a level of case management and stability for our residents to get back on their feet. This is an effort to thank them for their service and stand by them while they integrate back into the community.”
Patriot Place will be more than just a home to these veterans. It offers a sense of community and support. Veterans will receive individualized case management from their Care Connect+ case worker for the duration of their time at Patriot Place.
From workforce development, education, health care and transportation, these case workers create a case plan based on the unique needs of each client and their goals. In addition, Patriot Place will collaborate with other veteran service organizations to offer enrichment opportunities to foster mental health and wellbeing.
The land for Patriot Place, at 79 Masters Drive in St. Augustine, was donated by MountainStar Capital, having already donated more than $100,000 to make the project a reality.
“Our commitment to projects like Patriot Place goes well beyond development and investment,” said Chris Lazzara, co-founder and chief executive officer of MountainStar Capital. “We have worked tirelessly with partners like Flagler Health+, St. Johns Housing Partnership and St. Johns County to make this affordable housing a reality for the most in need. Today is another step in our pledge to provide affordable housing and support of charitable causes.
The national Continuum of Care Program is designed to promote communitywide planning and strategic use of resources to address homelessness, improve coordination and integration with mainstream resources and other programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness, improve data collection and performance measurement and allow each community to tailor its program to the particular strengths and challenges within that community.
Locally, the St. Johns County Continuum of Care cast the vision to end veteran’s homelessness.
Flagler Health+ became the lead agency of the St. Johns County Continuum of Care in 2007 and, together with its 97 community partners, has since helped to decrease veteran homelessness by 17%, decrease youth homelessness by 59% and decrease the unsheltered population by 39%.
The property will be built to green building standards with the Florida Green Building Coalition, in part to make sure that water and power bills are as low as possible for residents.