In an effort to break the cycle of homelessness for the area’s female veterans, the Philadelphia Foundation’s Coles House Fund awarded a $95,000 grant to the VBC Giving Foundation (VBCGF). The grant is designated to supply security deposit, rent and utilities assistance to female veterans seeking permanent housing at VBCGF’s Veterans Village, a new, 47-unit affordable housing community for veterans, located in Northeast Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood. This is the first project VBCGF has funded in fulfillment of its mission to provide high-quality and affordable housing for those in need nationwide.
“Women are assuming combat roles in the military,” says Dana Spain, president of VBCGF. “It is imperative we support them when they return, as we see an increasing number of female veterans come home with PTSD and other challenges. Having a safe, respectful place to call home is the first step to ensuring their future success.”
According to Spain, the donation will help female veterans transition from shelters and recovery programs into permanent housing at Veterans Village. “This funding will directly help these women break the cycle of homelessness,” she explains.
The Coles House Fund has a rich history of supporting women in the Philadelphia area. The donor-advised fund, established at Philadelphia Foundation in 2002, traces its roots to the Young Women’s Board Home Association founded in 1865 by Mary Coles to advance the ability of women to get jobs by providing them with safe, comfortable and affordable housing when they came to Philadelphia for work or study.
The housing proved so popular that Coles secured donations to acquire four adjoining townhouses in the 900 block of Clinton Street that eventually accommodated 74 women. When the organization ceased operations after more than 135 years, the buildings—by then listed on the National Register of Historic Places—were sold, with the proceeds used to create the Philadelphia Foundation fund to support in perpetuity the housing needs of women in Philadelphia.
The VBCGF was created by Volumetric Building Companies (VBC) to address the housing crisis in America, and to give back to the communities it serves. Through the foundation, VBC’s mission is to bridge the housing gap and provide supportive and affordable housing for those in need including special needs adults, Veterans, seniors, working families and other demographics.