Hoboken plan to expand Second Street building to house six homeless vets overcomes final hurdle

HOBOKEN – With final approval from the City Council on Wednesday evening, March 16, Hoboken’s American Legion Post 107 can now expand its Second Street headquarters to house six homeless veterans.
The plan will transform the meeting hall (at 308 Second St.) from its current garage-esque layout into a five-story 900 square-foot structure.
“Unfortunately we’re only taking six veterans off the streets. If only we could do more, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Commander of Post 107 John Carey told The Hoboken Reporter.
In all, Carey said construction will take between a year and 18 months to finish.
Carey celebrated his birthday on the very same day the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved variances for the project earlier this week on March 15, which he called “a great birthday present.”
Amenities that would be part of the project include a kitchen, meeting rooms on the first and second floors and a laundry facility on floors three, four, and five.
American Legion Post 107 was chartered in 1920. The Hoboken chapter has been at their current meeting hall on Second Street since 1995. Prior to that they were headquartered at an old church at 13th Street and Willow Ave, Carey said. The meeting hall will continue to hold meetings after construction.
With the passing of the resolution this week, the city has agreed to take 18 feet worth of land next to the hall, which provides spaces for municipal parking, and use part of it to expand the building. Three of the fifteen parking spots would disappear.
“The administration has been great working with us,” said Carey.
Plans to upgrade Post 107, which was nearly destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, was made possible by Monarch Housing, the Hoboken Homeless Shelter, and the City of Hoboken, which provided six housing vouchers for homeless veterans in 2013.
Carey, who noted that the six vouchers limited how many units they could add, said Post 107 may expand the building more in the future.
Councilmembers and Zoning Board of Adjustment commissioners have all been in support of the project.
Phil Cohen, a commissioner on the Zoning Board, said in his six years on the board he hasn’t seen an application like this.
“I think it’s unique in that it addresses a major need in our society,” he told the Reporter.“That need is is to find housing for homeless veterans, who served our country and made extraordinary sacrifices. It’s shameful that there are thousands of veterans in New Jersey that are homeless.”
Carey could not say exactly how many homeless veterans are in Hoboken, but confirmed that there are over 30 in Hudson County (a reduction from recent years). – Steven Rodas

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group