Thursday, October 30, 2014

At Ease: Veterans Get a New Lease on Life

UPDATE: ABC7 News Story & Video on November 6, 2014.

For six men and one building in Glendale, Veteran’s Day this past November 11th was different from years past. For some of these former U.S. military members, the differences were dramatic. All would agree that the changes represent an opportunity to enjoy their golden years in peace and security, something that a number of them have been lacking until now. 

They are all new residents of Cypress Senior Living, the City of Glendale’s newest affordable housing project reserved for lower income senior households with the first six units reserved for Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

While it took some time to find 6 qualified senior veterans to occupy the predesignated units at Cypress Senior Living, it could not come soon enough for some. Twenty-two veterans applied for the units and a lottery was held to prioritize the order in which the veterans were to be considered for them. Some applicants did not meet the income qualifications, some did not care for the sizes of the units and kindly declined, and others, despite the housing being affordable, were not prepared to make a move from their existing homes. Sadly, one senior veteran selected did not live long enough to move into the unit, having passed away not too long after applying for the project. 

WWII veteran Jesus Gonzalez shows off his Navy pennants 
and uniform at the Cypress Senior Living grand opening. 
The final roster of residents represents what many refer to as the “old-school” veterans, six men representing service time during conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. Four are veterans of the Army followed by a representative each of the Navy and Air Force. Four of them were drafted, while the other two enlisted. 

Jesus Gonzalez is the most veteran of them all. Now 86 years old and still going strong, Jesus grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He enlisted in the Navy in 1946 and spent 3 ½ years in and around various islands of the South Pacific. Some of those areas were still under Japanese occupation and the Navy provided security detail as some fighting and hostility continued, despite the end of WWII. Jesus then spent his civilian career as a teacher and high school baseball coach. He was living in a market rate apartment in Northridge when he and his wife heard about the opportunity to apply for the units in Glendale. 

A few of the veterans were not as fortunate as Jesus in their post military life. Kevin Sargent, one the last veterans to rent a unit, spent several years homeless. During those lean times, Kevin made money by recycling bottles and cans and giving blood. He was drafted into the Army just out of Daily High School in Glendale in 1971. Prior to deployment in Vietnam, he came down with a debilitating case of spinal meningitis as a result of a vaccine the Army had given him; he was eventually discharged due to his medical condition. He worked many jobs in his adult life including stints as an actor and security guard.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Downtown Specific Plan & Mobility Study

CDD staff presented policies related to Glendale's Downtown Specific Plan & Mobility Study to City Council on October 21, 2014. You can view the slide presentation below or watch the video online.