IMPACT
11/08/2010 01:36 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mass. Community Debuts New Strategy For Helping Homeless Veterans

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 107,000 American veterans find themselves homeless on any given night.

The organization estimates an even larger number -- 1.5 million veterans -- are at risk of homelessness because of poverty, insufficient social services and other factors.

While temporary homeless shelters can provide veterans with an escape from a cold night on the streets, they aren't a long-term solution for the population.

Just in time for the holidays, Massachusetts-based organization Soldier On is debuting the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community, a one of a kind housing facility that gives veterans the ability to become homeowners.

It is the nation's first community of its kind for homeless veterans and part of a new approach to fighting homelessness: Instead of moving those without homes into overcrowded emergency shelters or transitional places far from services, the $6.1 million project that looks like a high-end condo complex provides them with attractive one-bedroom and studio apartments for as long as they want to stay.

Veterans can buy into the community with a $2,500 deposit, in some cases loaned by a local bank, and make regular payments to a self-run association. As long as they keep up with their payments, the veterans have a permanent home.