Senior veterans experiencing homelessness or needing affordable housing now have a new resource in Lower Bucks.
Officials from Bucks County, Bensalem Township and developer Penrose on Wednesday celebrated the opening of Bensalem Veterans Residences, a 40-unit, affordable residential community for veterans and seniors 62 and older.
Veterans’ organizations providing services for the facility include the Bucks County Department of Military Affairs, Bucks County Vet Center and Salute 2 Service.
“So many people worked hard on this project for years,” said County Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo. “But the real stars today and every day are the veterans, the brave men and women who served.”
Through private and community partners the $15 million project became a reality in Bucks, which has the fourth-largest veteran population in Pennsylvania. The county provided $1.65 million in federal HOME grant funding, and Bensalem Township donated the land, for the three-story, 39,673 square feet facility.
Robert Loughery, Chairman of the Bucks County Housing Authority and a former county commissioner, talked about how housing is very important. Loughery was instrumental in getting the project underway, attended the groundbreaking in 2019 and said he was thrilled to be at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting.
The Housing Authority matched the county’s $1.65 million contribution and is giving housing vouchers to help residents of the facility for years to come.
“The most important thing we see today is partnership between private sector and government,” said Dan Fraley, Director of Bucks County Department of Military Affairs. “(The residents) have a library here, a gym here. They have everything here. And we’re here for you.”
So far, Bensalem Veterans Residences has provided housing for three veterans and two seniors who were experiencing homelessness.
The facility at 3055 Mechanicsville Road boasts modern kitchens and central heating and air conditioning in each unit. Bensalem Veterans Residences is close to public transportation and has a new sidewalk that connects to a neighboring shopping center off Street Road that has a grocery store, bank, retail and more.
“I am grateful to all those who served,” said Ray “Skip” Bates of the Bensalem Township Veterans Advisory Committee. “Those badges and ribbons are not given, they’re earned, and this home should be a resting place for them.”