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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vets get room to grow in Kingsbridge Heights

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
MARISOL DÍAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
Tina Vazquez and Richard Borchers, residents of Kingsbridge Terrace, address an audience during the Nov. 8 grand opening of the veterans’ residence.

 

Richard Borchers grew up on Pelham Parkway. He joined the Marines when he was 18 and served as a communications and electronics expert at an air/ground combat base in California. 

When he returned to civilian life, he battled addiction and struggled to stay employed.

“My only regret about my service was I didn’t stay in the Marines as long as I should,” he said.

He started a cleaning business, but it went under after he fell off a ledge and injured himself. Then he started a street sweeping business in Long Island City. As his business grew, he reached out to other veterans. 

“Remembering how much the military has given me, I decided to give back and hire veterans that were living at the shelter on Borden Avenue in Queens,” he said.

Now, the Jericho Project is giving him a hand, or more precisely, a room. 

On Nov. 8, Mr. Borchers, 53, wearing a David Wright Mets jersey, spoke at the opening of the Jericho Project’s Kingsbridge Terrace, a new 76-unit facility for veterans built catty-corner to the James J. Peter’s Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.

Mr. Borchers was one of the first veterans to move into the six-story facility, a $20 million building paid for with a mix of public and private financing.

The city’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, low-income housing tax credits, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who directed $750,000 to make the building energy efficient, New York Acquisition Loan Fund, Corporation for Supportive Housing and Jericho Project Veterans Fund all contributed. 

The Jericho Project is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 dedicated to building supportive housing for homeless people and those who struggle with substance abuse, including veterans. Kingsbridge Terrace is the second supportive housing program built for vets by the Jericho Project in recent years.

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