craigslist Founder gives $136,500 to support Veterans at Colma Veteran Village

Mercy El Monte

This gift will provide furniture and basic household items for 65 homeless and disabled veterans, who will find a place to call home at Mercy Housing’s new Colma Veterans Village community.

Because the veterans who will be living at Colma Veterans Village are transitioning from homelessness, they will be moving to their new homes without many basic necessities of their own. With support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, a philanthropic organization started by craigslist founder Craig Newmark, MHC will purchase household furniture as well as bedding, bath and kitchen supplies for each of the 65 new residents of Colma Veterans Village. This will help to ensure that each arrives at a home that is a welcoming living space, ready for them to begin their new life. 

“Service members put their lives on the line to protect those of us at home,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “The very least we can do is support them and their families, and that means offering a hand when they can’t catch a break.” 

Newmark continued, “I’m proud to support the vital work that Mercy Housing is doing to help provide veterans who are homeless with resources to make a new start in life.”

San Mateo County selected Mercy Housing to develop the Veterans Village, a 65-unit affordable rental housing community for homeless military veterans that gives priority to homeless veterans with disabilities. Construction is underway and should be completed in April of 2019. The future residents of Colma Veterans Village will be referred to Mercy Housing through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program (VASH) starting in late 2018.

MHC is committed to placing homeless veterans who are considered among the hardest to house in affordable rental housing. This includes those who have been homeless for a long time, those who have mental health and physical disabilities, and those who struggle with addiction issues. Comprehensive case management and supportive services will be provided onsite by the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Brilliant Corners, a nonprofit agency that serves veterans and others transitioning from homelessness. 

“I’ve had the privilege of being with many of our formerly homeless residents when they open the door to their new home for the first time,” said Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California. “Their joy is overwhelming, and the veterans who come to live at Colma Veterans Village will be touched beyond words by the amenities with which this donation allows us to provide them.” 

Colma Veterans Village housing is on track to be completed in April of 2019. The resident placement process will begin in late 2018 and will continue through the first quarter of 2019. The purchasing of furniture and household items will take place in early 2019, six to eight weeks before the move-in process begins. Once the certificate of occupancy is issued to the new housing community, the veterans placed with us through the VA will begin moving into their new homes. On move-in day, each veteran will receive a key to their new home, complete with furnishings and a welcome package of kitchen, bath and personal care items to help them make a new start.

Supporters/financers for the development are: San Mateo County, NEF (National Equity Fund), HCD (Housing Community Development), Column Financial, and Silicon Valley Bank.