New affordable housing complex for veterans unveiled in Midtown

The Light Rail Lofts has a total of 56 studio apartments, half of which are set aside for veterans and their families earning considerably less than the area median income.

Ashley Brown/Houston Public Media
The bedroom area in a studio unit at Light Rail Lofts, which has set half of its units for veterans.

State, local, and federal officials unveiled a new 42,000-square foot affordable housing complex in Midtown for veterans on Thursday.

The Light Rail Lofts is a three-story affordable housing unit, and has a total of 56 studio apartments, half of which are set aside for veterans and their families earning considerably less than the area median income. The lofts are at 4600 Main Street, less than a mile from the Museum District and the Medical Center.

The $16.3 million dollar project is a collaboration between the City of Houston and the county. The city contributed 3.4 million dollars of federal funds towards the project.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said veterans deserve the same resources as everyone else.

“The men and women that protected our country not only deserve our thanks, but they also deserve a safe place to call home and have direct access to support services that will help them for many years into the future," he said during the unveiling.

The complex includes office space that will assist veterans that are at-risk of experiencing homelessness with resources such as transitional housing, counseling and career services.

"It is this holistic approach that includes wrap-around services that I feel makes Houston's approach to ending homelessness the national example and the national model it has become," Turner said.

Houston gained national recognition for moving 25,000 homeless people over the last decade into apartments and homes of their own through its "Housing First" program. The program focuses on moving unhoused people into permanent housing and then providing wrap-around services.

Ralph Cooper is the Veterans Services Coordinator for Cloudbreak Communities and a veteran himself. He said veterans should not be without housing in this country.

"I don't think there should be one homeless veteran. A county as rich as ours should always have housing available for the men and women who’s willing to give their life for this country," he said.

Cooper said he continues to fight to end homelessness so places like Light Rail Lofts can become available to people.

"I don’t know if we're going to ever end homelessness, but I'm going to be a part of trying to," he said. "I'm going to work very hard to see what kind of dent we can put in it."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said every level of government was in attendance of the unveiling, supporting the initiative to end homelessness amongst veterans.

"Your local government, your county government and your federal government are all on the same page," she said.

The City of Houston estimates 69,000 veterans live here, with more in Harris County.

The units are finished and will be available once the street construction is done around the complex.

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