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Fort Snelling buildings to become veterans housing

FORT SNELLING, Minn. (AP) — After decades of neglect, five old brick buildings at Fort Snelling that saw service from the Spanish-American War through World War II will be renovated into apartments for homeless veterans and their families.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' plans call for creating 58 affordable apartments, the Star Tribune reported Sunday ( ). Construction is expected to start this summer and finish by summer 2014.

The Fort Snelling plan is part of a larger effort by the VA to end veteran homelessness and reduce its inventory of vacant and underused properties. The VA plans to provide more than 3,000 units of permanent and transitional housing for veterans at 25 VA Medical Center campuses nationwide, and another 1,000 units are pending or under way.

The structures on what's known as Fort Snelling's Upper Post include cavernous Building 210, the old quartermaster stables, where horses for cavalry officers were kept. They also include Building 211, with its high beams and wide doors where grease-stained GIs toiled fixing tanks during World War II.

"It's a perfect fit," said Andrew Michaelson, project manager for the nonprofit that will run the development. "To put homeless vets in a place like this, with its military history, it's a hand-in-glove fit."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.