“This is another golden opportunity,” Mayor Hayward told the council. “This is a very big deal for the City. I think we need to look at the big picture, and the 30,000 foot view is the citizens of Pensacola voted on this park and voted on us to do what we’ve done in the last eight years.”
Since taking office in 2010, Mayor Hayward has pushed for activating the waterfront and connecting Pensacola’s east side to the west side.
“If you think about our city, it is 39-square-miles,” Mayor Hayward told the council. “We knew the east side of Pensacola was built out and we knew we needed to create that synergy and that energy in our downtown core. When I ran for office, we talked about that, creating that energy, creating that vibrancy in those neighborhoods.”
Studer Properties, LLP will be working on a plan to establish uses for the seven parcels that cater to walk-ability and are compatible with City infrastructure.
The council unanimously approved to enter into the option agreement with Studer Properties, LLP. Together, with this partnership, the goal is to make Pensacola the best place to live, work and play.
City awarded additional vouchers to support housing veterans
Pensacola is known for having one of the largest military retiree populations in the United States. Most of these veterans visited here while attending training schools and remember a friendly, warm place to live. Unfortunately, circumstances may find them unable to support themselves and their families, and they may resort to living in shelters, their cars, and in some cases in homeless camps.
Come October, the Pensacola HUD- Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program will grow by 14 vouchers to bring the total to 203. Over the last decade, Pensacola Housing Division in partnership with the VA has worked with over 500 formerly homeless veterans.
The Pensacola program began in 2008 when the City Housing Division requested funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, D.C. to house 35 homeless veterans and their families. The VA hired a licensed social services counselor and together with Housing staff, the VASH program was launched in our area. The requirements for homeless veterans to participate are minimal. The VA assigns a caseworker to each qualifying family. In coordination with the VA caseworker, the family is verified as homeless then referred to the Housing Office. They meet with their VA caseworker until counseling is no longer needed. The family pays a portion of their rent based on their income.
Caseworkers assist with varying needs from locating furniture to crisis intervention. These formerly homeless veterans are attending educational and vocational programs with plans of living independent, productive lives. Some are elderly or disabled and are glad to once again be enjoying decent living environments.
The VASH program is available to serve low-income homeless veterans. If you know of any of these veterans in need, please contact Ms. Jodie Picciano-Swanson of the VA at 228-523-5018, or Marsha Bazinet of the City of Pensacola Housing Division at 850-858-0350 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
KUDOS to our Sanitation Services employee!