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West Palm Beach opens new complex to address homelessness

Apartments can house up to 36 residents
The Village ribbon-cutting ceremony July 9, 2021 in West Palm Beach
Posted at 3:45 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 17:05:45-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The city of West Palm Beach is boasting its strides in homeless prevention as a new supportive housing complex opens.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday to mark the grand opening of "The Village" on Thirteenth Street near Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.

The 20-unit supportive housing complex will provide individuals, who are at risk of homelessness, with independent, affordable housing, behavioral health services and additional needs.

The Village is a collaborative project between the city, Southeast Behavioral Health Network and Community Partners of South Florida.

The apartments can house up to 36 residents, who will have 24/7 access to a multidisciplinary care team consisting of case managers, therapists and community services to empower them to live independently.

According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, there is a critical need for affordable and permanent supportive housing for all Floridians, especially those living with serious mental illness.

The advocacy group ranks Florida as one of the top five states nationwide that lack availability of supportive housing.

NAMI promotes that a safe home is a prerequisite for recovery.

The second phase of the project, which is expected to be complete by fall 2021, will include the addition of a renovated multipurpose center that will house additional services, such as a peer support program.

The city of West Palm Beach will be providing up to $100,000 in rental assistance in support of some of the project’s new residents.

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James was on-site during Friday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"It's a place where anyone can realize their dreams," James said. "Including the dream of stable housing in our city."

The project also advances the "500 in 3" affordable housing initiative that James stands behind.

The strategy includes the goal of breaking ground on or unveiling at least 500 new units of affordable housing within three years.

The Village contributes a total of 20 units to the current total of affordable housing units created.

Three-hundred and thirty-eight units have been added to the city's housing stock in two years, which means that 67% of the "500 in 3" goal has been achieved.

"The Village will help many in our community realize their dream of housing, independence and stability," James said. "I am beyond grateful to our partners, Southeast Behavioral Health Network and Community Partners of South Florida, for their collaboration. Working together, we will be making a difference in the lives of our residents through The Village."

After the closure of the Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health in 2019, the partner organizations have come together to fill the void in housing for people with behavioral health challenges, particularly those who are at risk of homelessness or transitioning from a hospital environment to community.

The city's Housing and Community Development Department teamed up with local agencies to provide critical resources for those who are either facing homelessness or behavioral health challenges.

City leaders also believe having a housing development that fosters the transition from the hospital environment to the community will help with homeless prevention.

"There is a significant need for permanent and permanent supportive housing to address chronic homelessness," James said.

According to Palm Beach County's 2020 Point In Time Count, there are 1,510 homeless individuals in Palm Beach County.

The Village is located at 1004 Thirteenth St. in West Palm Beach.

The community is encouraged to donate household and kitchen items to residents.