Freedoms Path Logo.jpg

Waco, Texas

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 19

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 20

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

Building 21

This project is a Public-Private Veteran Housing Development with the US Department of Veterans Affairs' effort to end functional homelessness among Veterans while converting unutilized structures on VA campuses to functional use by making those structures and/or vacant land available to the private sector to provide service enriched housing to homeless, near homeless, rent burdened and disabled Veterans.

 

Freedom's Path Waco is an adaptive reuse development of three historic structures on the Doris Miller VA campus and the new construction of one residential building and one community center to create a total of 34 efficiency units of housing for the targeted population. This project involves the historic renovation, adaptive re-use of three buildings on the Doris Miller VAMC campus to create 26 studio apartments.  The project also includes 8 new construction units and a new multi-purpose community building. 

 

Services will be provided by a consortium of service providers, including the Doris Miller VA Medical Center itself, Solutions for Veterans, Inc., the Stan Parker Foundation, the Waco Housing Authority, the Heart of Texas Veterans One Stop Program, and the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition. The Waco Housing Authority will provide at least 21 HUD-VASH project-based vouchers to the project to ensure the ability to house qualified, very low-income Veterans in the property. Funding will include both Housing and Historic tax credits. Members of the development team have completed or are underway on nine projects on VA Medical Center campuses totaling 451 units. Four of those nine projects included historic, adaptive reuse in the work scope.         

 

The three historic structures were once used by VA Medical Center senior staff as personal residences.  One building was a single family home and two of the buildings were duplexes.  About 20 years ago these buildings were discontinued for residential use and converted to offices for various VA engineering services. About 10 years ago the buildings were subsequently vacated due to their deteriorated condition and have remained so to now.  Due to their very large size (ranging from 6,000 sf to 7,000 sf) it is possible to utilize the current footprint and most of the interior layout to create studio units (all with private kitchens and baths).

This repurposing has the benefit of creating much needed, basic housing for homeless Veterans within immediate proximity to the VA Medical services they require, preserve historic structures within the larger Doris Miller VAMC Historic District and remove this blighting influence from the campus and the neighborhood. 

The VA has over 1500 vacant structures on its campuses and as a budgetary decision, is spending only the least amount of funding, if any, to preserve these structures.  Due to National Historic Preservation Guidelines, the VA is not allowed to demolish these structures, so in what appears to be an intentional policy of benign neglect is simply allowing the structures to deteriorate, resulting in a natural demolition effect.  Ironically, these structures were built so well that this is not happening rapidly.  Consequently, these structures become eyesores and the cost to rehabilitate usually prohibitive. 

We are excited to be able to step in and preserve the physical structures while achieving the concomitant goal of creating new housing within otherwise useless structures for homeless Veterans.