Plans For Dennis Veterans Home to be Presented to Selectmen

PHOTO COURTESY: Town of Dennis. Rendering of planned home for veterans

PHOTO COURTESY: Town of Dennis. Rendering of planned home for veterans

DENNIS – Plans to build a home for veterans on town-owned land along Route 134 near Route 6A in Dennis will be presented to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday evening.

The proposal calls for a five bedroom, colonial style home that will serve homeless veterans in need of transitional housing and other veterans below the poverty line.

“We feel ready to present it to the Board of Selectmen to get their formal blessing of the project and get ready to move it forward to a town meeting vote to authorize the town to use this piece of property for this purpose,” said Dan Fortier, the town planner.

Fortier said the external design plans for the home are complete.

“There might be a little tinkering still with the layout with some of the interior rooms,” he said. “We are starting to work on the landscaping.”

Jeffrey Eldredge, from Starboard Side Landscaping in South Dennis, and Chris Lambton, from DIY Network, are helping the town with the landscape design on the property.

Fortier said there is big need for a facility like this in Dennis.

Veterans comprise almost 13 percent of the town’s entire population and 27 percent of those over 65.

There are about 150 veterans in Dennis who live below the poverty level, of $11,880, and about 70 of them are disabled.

“All of those folks are at risk of homelessness at some point in time and we are hoping that we can create a safe landing place to take care of our veterans,” Fortier said.

The home will not be a homeless shelter, according to Fortier.

“The folks who will be here will be transitioning to real life if they have been on the street,” he said.

Fortier said a high number of the towns vets that are in dire need are older than 65.

“This might be the place they live for the rest of their life,” he said. “There might be some short-term people there for a few months. The expectation that a year or two is not out of the question for the people who move in here.”

A request for proposals will be issued to find an operator for the home.

“There is a qualified operator already in the Mid-Cape area but we have to go through the RFP process under state law,” Fortier said.

The project would then go before town meeting voters in the fall.

“At that point we hope to have all the builders and all the equipment lined up that we need, and supplies, so that we can start the construction shortly after town meeting,” Fortier said.

They hope to have the home completed and occupied by Easter of 2017.

The proposal will be made at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Stone Conference Room at Dennis Town Hall.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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