Toledo veteran Keith Bell only moved into his new apartment last week, but he’s already entertained a U.S. senator.

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Vietnam veteran Keith Bell, left, shares a laugh with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown during Brown’s visit to Bell’s apartment at The Commons at Garden Lake, a new 75-unit housing complex in Toledo for low-income and formerly unhoused veterans.

Senator Sherrod Brown recently visited The Commons at Garden Lake, a new 75-unit housing complex in Toledo for low-income and formerly unhoused veterans. Residents began moving in last week.

“It’s our responsibility as a community and as a Congress to make sure all veterans have a place to call home and a chance to succeed,” Brown told media during the visit.

Bell, a Vietnam veteran, chatted with National Church Residences CEO Tom Slemmer about their service days and gave Senator Brown a tour of his new apartment. Bell is going to school to become a peer specialist, with the goal of helping other veterans like himself.

“It’s a blessing,” Bell said of his new home. “I always count my blessings. I’m really thankful.”

The Commons at Garden Lake is owned and operated by National Church Residences, a nonprofit organization based in Columbus, Ohio. The project is being financed through a combination of private loans and public money from Toledo, Lucas County and the federal government.

Veterans Matter covered the security deposits for the veterans. The Lucas County Veterans Service Commission provided furniture for the apartments as well as a grant to Veterans Matter to help over security deposits.

Veterans Matter founder Ken Leslie in the doorway of one of the new veteran apartments at The Commons at Garden Lake in Toledo.

Veterans Matter founder Ken Leslie in the doorway of one of the new veteran apartments at The Commons at Garden Lake in Toledo.

During his Oct. 19 visit, Brown outlined new legislation, the Veteran Housing Stability Act, which aims to improve housing programs for homeless veterans and their families in Toledo.

“When Congress is very willing to send troops to war, very willing to fund weapons, Congress is not so generous when it comes to veterans services. Whether it’s mental health counseling, whether it’s health care generally, whether it’s education benefits, or whether it’s the terrible problem of homelessness,” Brown said.

Resident of The Commons at Garden Lake will have access to on-site social, educational, vocational and medical support services to allow more opportunity for stability and self-sufficiency. The apartment building is also just down the road from Toledo’s Veterans Administration outpatient clinic.

Welcome home, Keith!

Click here for more photos of The Commons at Garden Lake.

NOTE: Lucas County Veterans Service Commission provided the furniture for the apartments (not Veterans Matter, as stated in the news video below).

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