Ground Breaking for Willow Housing at VA Menlo Park (Feb. 9) - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Ground Breaking for Willow Housing at VA Menlo Park (Feb. 9)

February 6, 2015

Affordable Housing for Homeless Veterans

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- The VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) invites you to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new $18 million apartment community for homeless Veterans, located at the Menlo Park division. The groundbreaking will take place Monday, February 9 at 1:00pm. Over 100 people are expected to attend as key community stakeholders are welcomed by VAPAHCS Director Lisa Freeman and Core Affordable Housing President Chris Neale. Speakers at the groundbreaking include Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, San Mateo Supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum, City of Menlo Park leaders, and others who have graciously supported Willow Housing.

“We are proud to be part of this outstanding effort to place homeless Veterans into safe housing, without the stress of competing with the current housing market,” said Freeman. “These type of partnerships are crucial to the VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness.”

Upon its anticipated completion in late 2015, Willow Housing will provide Veterans the opportunity to live in safe, high quality, permanent, affordable housing in close proximity to the services provided by VA on the Menlo Park and Palo Alto campuses. In collaboration with the VA and EAH Housing, Core Affordable Housing was able to secure two acres on the Menlo Park VA site as part of the Federal BURR Initiative, a Congressional effort to end the nationwide housing crisis among Veterans. This public-private partnership of delivering housing and services, which the VA is seeking to replicate throughout the nation, began in December 2011 and commenced construction in December 2014.

“We could not be more thrilled to see this project break ground,” said Chris Neale, Vice President of The Core Companies. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and local leaders from Menlo Park and San Mateo County to create a safe, affordable permanent community for our local Veterans in need. The location is ideal – close to a thriving economy and healthcare. We hope this is the first of many more to come.”

 The Bay Area ranks among the most expensive housing markets in the country, with market rate rents up by 30% since 2010. In 2014, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties’ Homeless Count estimated that on any given night, there are 926 homeless Veterans in the two counties combined. For Bay Area Veterans with fixed and low incomes, access to decent affordable housing, near employment, health services, and their established communities of fellow Veterans and family, is next to impossible. Add to this bleak economic picture the staggering statistic that almost 70% of all homeless Veterans in the Counties reported having at least one debilitating disability – including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, physical disabilities, or other mental illness – often resulting from their military service. Willow Housing answers not only the need for affordable housing for Veterans, but will also provide much needed services to keep these Veterans housed and thriving. 


The VA Palo Alto Health Care System consists of three inpatient facilities located at Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Livermore, Calif. Also, there are seven outpatient clinics in San Jose, Capitola, Monterey, Stockton, Modesto, Sonora and Fremont, Calif. These nationally-recognized facilities provide award-winning medical care and cutting-edge technology. Along with its academic affiliate at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the more than 6,200 staff and volunteers operate 800 beds, including three nursing homes and a 100-bed homeless domiciliary, showing its more than 90,000 enrolled Veterans that they are “Serving those who Served.”

For more information about the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, please visit

About The Core Companies: Established in 1989, The Core Companies is a vertically-integrated real estate development and construction firm. Core Affordable Housing specializes in development of below-market-rate properties, through partnerships with public agencies, non-profit organizations, and private financing institutions. Core has developed a strong track record for identifying well-located housing sites and securing challenging difficult entitlements throughout the San Francisco Bay area.