Volunteers of America Upstate New York is building seven new apartments to house homeless veterans in Rochester.

The supportive housing apartments will be built on the ground floor of Cooper Union, a State Street facility which already has 44 units for homeless people. VOA provides residents with on-site support services addressing physical and mental health, job training and other needs.

“Housing is a first step really toward really helping people become self-sufficient,” said Lynn Sullivan, VOA’s President and CEO.

Steven Ruger, a former military contract worker and longtime resident of Cooper Union, says the help he receives there is a life saver.

“I'm blessed. Blessed to have this,” said Ruger, who was once homeless. “It's a place I can come and lay my head and support me, no matter what."

VOA received $1.25 million in state funding for the homeless housing project, and $60,000 from the Home Depot Foundation.  Renovation work will begin this summer.