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ArlingtonAffordable-housing initiative marks milestone for veterans

Affordable-housing initiative marks milestone for veterans

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The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) recently marked the grand opening of Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place, the nonprofit developer’s new affordable-housing development and new home to American Legion Post 139 in the Virginia Square neighborhood.

APAH was joined by its partners, funders, supporters and the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to cut the ribbon and commemorate the building’s opening.

Located on Washington Boulevard near the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station, the project includes 160 units of affordable rental units (with half the units giving preference to military veterans), along with ground-floor space to house the American Legion post, which previously occupied the parcel. There also is community and multi-purpose space, a counseling office and business center.

“Terwilliger Place represents innovative housing at its finest,” APAH president/CEO Carmen Romero said, calling it a first-of-its-kind-in-the-region partnership.

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“Our mission to serve veterans and their families has never been clearer or more important,” said Post 139 Commander Bob Romano. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with APAH and raising the flag at our new Post.”

Post officials expect to move into their new space by the end of the year.

“Our new location will allow the Post to attract and support a younger generation of members,” Romano said. “It’s a place where veterans can mingle, have a beer and socialize in a comfortable atmosphere.”

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough joined the festivities.

“This strategy is replicable in other locations. It can be a successful blueprint to help increase the stock of housing dedicated to veterans and provide more opportunities for those who have served,” he said. “No veteran should be homeless in the country they fought to defend.”

Terwilliger Place is the first APAH property where philanthropy has played a pivotal role, with the Terwilliger Family Foundation providing the lead gift of $1.5 million. In conjunction with the building’s grand opening, the foundation committed additional funding to support the first three years of onsite resident services.

Ron Terwilliger, who grew up in Arlington and attended Wakefield High School before graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Business School, is a successful multi-family-housing developer and national advocate for affordable housing. The project is named Lucille and Bruce Terwilliger Place in honor of his parents.

“As a child, my father worked two jobs to make sure that we had a safe, stable home right here in Arlington,” Terwilliger said. “Today, the high cost of housing puts that dream out of reach for too many families. Projects like this are essential to helping people of all incomes and backgrounds continue to call Arlington home.”

More than 50 donors joined Terwilliger in giving to APAH’s Uniting to Serve capital campaign, including Amazon, which provided $1 million through the Arlington Community Foundation. In total, more than $4 million in philanthropic funding was raised.

The $77 million project includes $33.8 million in housing tax credits awarded by the Virginia Housing and Development Authority. The state government provided loan funding, as did the Arlington County government.

Founded in 1989, APAH’s apartment communities house more than 2,600 families, with 300 units under construction and 1,500 in the development pipeline.

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