BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — Questions were raised at a Manatee County Commissioners meeting about a new possible affordable housing program for veterans.
Saturday, veterans and other members of the Bradenton community showed up to a town hall meeting and got their answers.
A nearly nine-acre property off 66th Street West in Bradenton could see a major transformation in the years to come.
County commissioners are considering gifting the land to a New York-based nonprofit but wanted to hear from the community before giving the green light.
“The contract was put on our agenda Monday night and then we were asked to vote on Tuesday,” Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge said. “I had lots of questions, and they left me hesitant about agreeing to give away a $7 million county asset with so many unanswered questions.”
“I wanted Tunnels to Towers to come here today and in front of me look 100 residents and the community in the eye and make promises and commitments and they did that,” he continued.
“I need affordable housing,” Navy Veteran Chuck Wolfe said.
The hope is to transform the county-owned property into affordable housing for veterans like Wolfe who took a bus to the town hall meeting Saturday.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation said it’s important to note: this is a hand-up, not a handout.
“People need to want to make the change themselves,” Tunnel to Towers Foundation Vice President Gavin Naples said. “I think by and large everyone who is struggling wants to make a change. They just are unable to get to that point. They just don’t know how.”
“We are trying to provide the how,” he continued. “This is the how.”
Saturday’s town hall gave the Bradenton community the chance to ask questions and form their own opinion on the proposal.
“This is something that’s very vitally needed in our community and I think supporting is the least we can do for our veterans,” Manatee County resident John Banks said.
“The other concern people have is ‘is this going to be going to be a transient location’ and it’s not,” said Manatee County resident Jack May. “It’s not like we have a magnet for other homeless people. They won’t be allowed on site.”
“That’s a good thing,” he continued.