Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will join local and state officials and a Quincy company on Saturday to formally open Temple Place, a 16-unit Quincy Center apartment building for homeless veterans.
“These are specifically for veterans…we worked really closely with the [Veterans Affairs],” said Linda Wood-Boyle, HomeStart's president and CEO. “They handed out vouchers and they will do the follow up services. We did the housing search.”
Yet Wood-Boyle credits the venture to Martin Realty, a Quincy company that purchased the property, redeveloped the space into housing units, specified the apartments for veterans' use, and donated a 400-square-foot space nearby to be used by case managers.
“We wanted to give back to people who had given a lot,” said Leo Martin, co-partner of Martin Realty.
Some of the properties have already been rented out to veterans; however, there will be a ribbon cutting in a new case-management space in the bottom floor of the building.
In addition to Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, state and federal Veterans Affairs representatives, HomeStart officials, and HomeStart supporter Saltalamacchia will attend the event, which begins at 10:45 Saturday morning at 25 Temple St.
“He’s been with us supporting HomeStart for about a year and a half,” Wood-Boyle said of the Red Sox catcher. “I met him last May I believe, and he agreed to help get HomeStart’s name out there more, which he has done tremendously.”
The ribbon cutting will culminate over a year’s worth of effort in rehabbing the space.
According to Martin, the property on Temple Street opened up after Quincy College moved out. The idea for veterans housing came from veterans-interest groups, which approached the business with the idea. Martin and partner Sy Marcus were soon on board.
“My father was a veteran, a WWII veteran and a very proud one…he always said to me the veterans from the current wars, which aren’t popular wars, aren’t getting the same treatment they got when we came home from WWII,” Martin said.
Hoping to reverse the trend, Marin and Marcus started to develop the property with an eye towards veterans, approaching the city for help and soon bringing Veterans Affairs into the arrangement.
A year later, veterans started moving into the building, using housing vouchers to help subsidize rent.
“Everything is going fine, we’re very pleased,” Martin said. “They are nice addition to the community, and it’s a nice thing.”
The location for the development has also been ideal, Martin said. The train is nearby to give veterans access to public transportation, and several social services are in the area.
“It’s a good spot for them. It’s a good spot for them to get to different services they need,” Martin said. “A lot suffer from emotional disorders, the fact that they can have a place to live that isn’t a shelter or a lodging house, it gives them a better feeling about themselves.”
The apartments will act as long-term housing, with veterans signing one-year leases for the homes.
“We’re just happy we could do something that worked out for people,” Martin said.
Though it isn’t unusual for Quincy to house HomeStart clients, who are often assisted by the organization as they transition from homelessness, having 16 units open up at once for a target population is unusual, Wood-Boyle said.
Coupled with the donation of a counseling center, Wood-Boyle hopes the ribbon cutting and Saltalamacchia’s presence draws a lot of attention to the promising work to reduce homelessness.