EMERSON - Members of the American Legion are building housing for disabled veterans in Bergen County.
Work is now underway to build seven houses in Emerson that will shelter 14 disabled veterans. The homes will be built in the backyard of the local American Legion post.
"I think it's a dream that’s finally happening. It's something that we and the members of the post really wanted,” says American Legion Post 269 Commander John Hogan.
Commander Hogan, a Korean War veteran, says that Post 269 was nearly closed down and sold before he and the members got the idea to build the houses.
The group signed a deal with Housing and Urban Development to build and lease the houses for 99 years at $1 a year. Those who move in will only have to pay 30 percent of their income.
"You'll still get good quality housing in a great town and pay a fraction of the market rate,” says Director of Veterans Services Arial Luna.
Bergen County officials declared in February that all of their homeless veterans have found housing. Nationwide, HUD reports homelessness among veterans is down 33 percent in the last five years.
The veterans in Emerson are expected to move into the new homes by September 2017.