In an unprecedented collaboration to construct the country’s first service enriched Habitat for Heroes veteran village, the California Department of Veteran Affairs (CalVet) announced it has set aside more than $21 million for Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley (Habitat SF/SCV) to build homes for California veterans and their families living in the Santa Clarita and Sylmar areas of Los Angeles County.
Veterans will now have a great opportunity to own a home thanks to this public-private collaboration between CalVet, the Habitat for Humanity affiliate serving San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, and that affiliate’s special program, Habitat for Heroes, sponsored by Southern California Gas Company in partnership with KHTS AM 1220 Radio, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and local nonprofit organizations.
Through this collaboration, low-income veterans will qualify for beautiful three-and-four-bedroom homes, which veterans can purchase using a CalVet Home Loan, a Habitat SF/SCV second loan, and in the case of the Sylmar project, a deferred silent third loan from HCD. The veteran will provide sweat equity to reduce the costs and help build these green energy-efficient affordable homes.
“We are very excited about this collaboration with Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley and Housing and Community Development because it will allow veterans in the Sylmar and Santa Clarita areas to acquire a piece of the American Dream,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary. “These planned veteran communities will not only bring veterans together but will also offer them a neighborhood that promotes self-sufficiency.”
Approximately 100 homes will be built thanks to this collaboration. To help fund these homes for veterans, CalVet has set aside more than $21 million for qualified veterans. Veterans wishing to participate in this program must first apply to Habitat for Humanity SF/SVC (visit www.HabitatSCV.org). Once they are approved by Habitat SF/SVC, they will then undergo the approval process for a CalVet Home Loan.
“We are aware that the need for housing for veterans is great, but where there is a great need there are also great opportunities,” said Donna Deutchman, CEO of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley. “We are very pleased that this collaboration will allow Sylmar and Santa Clarita to establish itself as a community for veterans.” The initial introductions were nurtured by Debbie Gregory of MilitaryConnection.com and the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans (ICV) helped bring this vital project to fruition.
Deutchman, who sits on the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans, has been working with the council’s subcommittee on veteran housing needs and the group has identified a need for affordable housing options for veterans and their families. Programs like the Habitat for Heroes are specifically designed to help those low-income veterans and their families enter into the housing market in California by using not only their income but also their “sweat equity” to build equity in their new home.
“Innovative programs like this one are a great example of government, at all levels working in collaboration with the private sector, to meet a serious need,” said Secretary Gravett. “The Governor initiated the ICV to identify programs like this and highlight them and if possible replicate them throughout California.”
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