A Place to Call Home for Local Vets

Photo by Isiah REYES Thomas O’Shaughnessy is one of Cypress Senior Living’s newest residents.
Photo by Isiah REYES
Thomas O’Shaughnessy is one of Cypress Senior Living’s newest residents.

By Isiah REYES

Glendale’s newest affordable housing project reserved for lower income seniors, Cypress Senior Living, has given new life to six lucky veterans.
One of the six veterans at Cypress Senior Living is Thomas O’Shaughnessy, who had previously lived in Burbank for about 14 years. Being disabled and requiring a wheelchair to move around, he could no longer easily navigate his two-bedroom apartment on the second floor, so he began searching for a place on ground level.
“Glendale as a city has been doing for four or five years what L.A. has been talking about doing,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I think Glendale is probably one of the first cities that has really gotten into the program full tilt and [is] fully compliant. Their housing department is excellent, their city staff is excellent and they work overtime to make sure Glendale is a community people love to live in 24 hours a day.”
O’Shaughnessy said the application process was very strenuous and thorough but fair. He said the process made housing work for people who are veterans, retired or disabled. About 2,600 people applied to live at Cypress Senior Living for the 17 rental units that were available.
The City of Glendale, via the Glendale Housing Authority, has developed over 1,200 new affordable housing units since 1975.
“A good portion of those units are available for the general public who qualify income wise,” said Deputy Director of Housing Peter Zovak. “However, for a successful housing program, there is a need to provide housing for special needs households as well, when possible and when you can leverage that with other sources and services.”
Cypress Senior Living is 200 feet east of Glendale Avenue near Los Feliz Boulevard. The Beeline bus service is nearby as well as two RTD lines making travel easy for veterans.
The building was built in the late 1920s. The City of Glendale helped contribute funds to have it completely renovated from the ground up and rebuilt to meet today’s earthquake standards. It also includes onsite laundry and a community garden space in back. O’Shaughnessy’s room is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant which makes accessing the shower easier among other things.
Project Coordinator Tim Wagner said that the residents had certain flowers that were important to them so they incorporated those into the community garden, which also includes lemons, limes, herbs and passion fruit.
Cypress Senior Living Project opened in June 2014. This came two years after the Glendale Housing Authority pledged approximately $2 million of affordable housing funds for the project.
“Affordable housing for lower income veterans is an emerging need and has become an emphasis to address nationwide,” Zovak said. “Glendale saw an opportunity with this site, this developer, and a special social service provider to put this project together.”
The City of Glendale’s second affordable housing project for lower income veteran households, Veterans Village, will be located on Salem Street and organizers have already begun distributing applications. They will continue to do so until Nov. 26. The project is expected to be completed in June 2015.
To obtain an application, visit www.VeteransVillageGlendale.com.

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