Rocket, Home Depot invest in apartments for homeless veterans

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The foundations of Rocket Companies Inc. and The Home Depot Inc. are investing $750,000 to bolster permanent housing for homeless veterans in Highland Park, the companies said Thursday.

The funds will renovate 61 apartments at a facility at 211 Glendale Ave. operated by Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, a Christian organization that for more than 100 years has helped those in need in the city. There are 162 veterans actively experiencing homelessness in Detroit, according to the nonprofit Community Solutions, a partner with the Rocket Community Fund in decreasing veteran homelessness in Detroit.

Jay Farner

“Everyone deserves the peace of mind that comes from stable housing; especially our nation’s heroes,” Jay Farner, CEO of Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Companies, said in a statement. “Veteran homelessness is a crisis in our country, but we are confident that we can solve it in Detroit by 2026."

The investment will take 61 transitional units at the facility and convert them into permanent housing units with new kitchenettes, updated fixtures and renovated common areas. Initial work is expected to be completed this summer.

The Rocket Community Fund and The Home Depot Foundation are supporting the work with equal donations. Rocket chairman Dan Gilbert has committed to investing $500 million into Detroit's neighborhoods over the next 10 years. The investment into 211 Glendale also is a part of Home Depot's $500 million commitment to veteran causes by 2025.

“The Home Depot Foundation is deeply committed to serving veterans and ensuring every one of our nation’s heroes has a safe, stable place to call home,” Shannon Gerber, executive director of the foundation, said in a statement.

All other units in the facility are funded through the federal Veteran Affairs Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program and serve homeless veterans through the efforts of the Detroit Continuum of Care.

Through its Built for Zero initiative, Community Solutions and others have found housing for 928 veterans in Detroit since 2018. The organizations involved are targeting an additional 40% reduction in 2021 as they work toward achieving “functional zero,” a milestone where fewer veterans are experiencing homelessness than can be routinely housed.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble