MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - I know what you're thinking. If we're talking about veterans' homes being built, why is the big guy (me) at Memphis City Hall. There's a reason why, and I'll tell you in a second.
First, head to South Memphis just off Mississippi Boulevard.
This neighborhood was filled with people who cared, but there were trouble signs; empty, abandoned homes bringing blight flight to the area.
That's not good.
So down they went, leaving empty lots and empty dreams.
Tennessee Housing Development Agency guy Ralph Terrey doesn't like vacant lots and empty dreams.
“This isn't the old urban renewal program where you just go to clean out blocks and blocks," he says.
Something must be put on the empty lot.
And that something is going to be a home; a home for veterans who need affordable housing.
"We're bringing back people that are going to help make this a good neighborhood once again," Terrey says, "... and that's a big part of this effort too."
A non-profit group called United Housing is going to build on this lot, after receiving a nice little federal grant of half-a-million dollars to build new affordable rental homes for military veterans here and across the state.
Amy Schastlein of United Homes says, "We don't need any more vacant lots. We want to have opportunities to build back. And not just build back, but to build back new homes in the city."
Now let's back to why we're at Memphis City Hall.
City Council members are going to try to find a good location for a proposed Memphis Veterans Home, a facility for long term care and assisted living.
Work has been underway for years to get the money needed to build one in Arlington.
One won't be enough.
Memphis City Councilman Ed Ford says, "We have over 65,000 veterans in Fayette, Tipton and Shelby County, the majority of them being in the City of Memphis."
City Council members will get a list of suggested locations in 30 days.