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Freedom Place opens for homeless vets

Freedom Place opens for homeless vets

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Freedom Place, at 4011 Delmar

Freedom Place, at 4011 Delmar

Open only a week or so, about 50 of Freedom Place's 68 apartments are already occupied.

After more than a year of work, the long-abandoned apartment building in St. Louis' Vandeventer neighborhood has been transformed as residences for homeless veterans.

Behind the $12.7 million project at 4011 Delmar Boulevard is the Vecino Group, a housing developer from Springfield, Mo. Vecino officials and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.

The five-story building completed in 1928 is about three blocks from the John Cochran VA Medical Center. Each Freedom Place apartment has all the usual appliances, including a dishwasher and laundry machines. Rents are far below market rates.

Freedom Place is the first St. Louis project for Vecino, which focuses on affordable housing and historic rehabilitation in its home territory of southwestern Missouri.

Sources of Freedom Place funding included state and federal low-income housing tax credits, plus state and federal historic preservation tax credits.

Among the residents is Daryl Fuller, 62, an Army vet who said he served in Vietnam in the early 1970s. He watched the ribbon-cutting in Freedom Place's lobby. Fuller said he became homeless months ago, then spent time at the New Life Evangelistic Center downtown.

“I'm not saying I was in hell, but this is heaven,” he said.

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Tim Bryant is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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