This morning, community members gathered on East Washington Avenue, celebrating the opening of a nearly $19 million, 59-unit housing development for veterans.
It’s called the Valor on Washington. It sits atop Dryhootch, a non-profit space and coffeehouse dedicated to helping veterans heal.
“Homeward bound.” Those were the words sung by a group of veterans ahead of the grand opening.
Planning for the Valor on Washington began five years ago, and construction on the $18.9 million project was completed in October of 2021.
Dane County and the City of Madison partnered with regional developer Gorman & Company for this project.
Ted Matkom is the Wisconsin Market President of Gorman & Company. He spoke at the grand opening, saying the family-oriented setups of the units are what make this development stand out.
“There is no other development in the country that is two and three bedrooms, that is targeting veteran families,” said Matkom. “Each one of the units in this building is built for families; there are no one-bedroom units. And they cater to these large veteran families.”
The complex is also made for lower-income veteran families. Fifty units are earmarked for families whose incomes are between 30 and 60% of the county median, which according to the U.S. Census is approximately $75,000. The other nine units have no income restriction.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi was on hand for the celebration. He spoke about the inspirations for this project.
“You know, while we look at this for what it is, which is veterans-focused housing, vets and their families, this isn’t just about the vets who are here,” Parisi said. “This is about our entire community, and this enriches our entire community, while we say thank you to our vets, allow them a place where they can live and thrive and continue to contribute even more to the communities that they have served so well.”
Fernando Escobar is the Commercial Loan Officer at the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority or WHEDA, another partner in the project. He laid out the importance of veterans’ families having a safe place to live.
“Today we have the opportunity to help ensure our veterans and others have access to the safe, stable, and affordable housing they need. And I want to highlight that because it’s an important, critical part,” Escobar said. “I think we’ve all been touched by service members, whether in our family or friends, and it’s important that when they come back home, they have a safe place.”
Ted Matkom tells WORT that support from the city and county was key to the project’s success.
“The city of Madison, Dane County, that was a great partnership,” Matkom said. “You don’t see the city and the county partnering all that often, and this building really is a great example of that. And we’re so fortunate that both of those governmental entities really came together and made this happen.”
Currently only 60% of the leases are to veteran families. The other 40% will be prioritized for veteran families as these units become available.
And when that time comes, thanks to today’s ribbon cutting, veterans and their families will in fact be “homeward bound.”
Photos by Reid Kamhi / WORT News Department