Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys’ special program Habitat for Heroes has big plans for 2013, organization officials said Monday.
“We are very excited about this collaboration with Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley because it will allow veterans in the Santa Clarita and Sylmar 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.”
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Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV is building two veteran “enriched” communities of new production homes in collaboration with the California Department of Veteran Affairs in the coming months.
The most exciting project is going to be the construction of the first of their kind Veteran Villages, featuring 87 homes in Santa Clarita, and 12 in Sylmar, officials said.
“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 Santa Clarita to establish itself as a community for veterans.”
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.
This Habitat for Humanity program is 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.
Each year, Habitat for Humanity, SF/SCV also holds its premier event in the spring, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of two corporations or civic leaders.
These leaders are honored with the Hammer of Hope award. The award pays tribute to their work to improve the economic development and homeownership opportunities of low-income working people, including veterans, hospital workers, service industry members and so on. This year the event will focus on Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV’s work with veterans through the Habitat for Heroes program.
Habitat is already accepting applications for the new community which will also provide veteran families with social services specifically tailored to suit the needs of veterans, especially those recently returning from the “wars on terror,” as well as services for older vets of prior conflicts.
The group has more than 60 applications from local veterans. To date, the project has completed 10 home repairs/disability modifications since November 2011, and the organization plans to complete three more this year.
The veteran communities are built in collaboration with the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Habitat for Heroes program is sponsored by the Southern California Gas Company, in partnership with KHTS AM-1220.
Due their involvement in the program, KHTS AM 1220 owners Carl and Jeri Goldman will be presented with the organization’s Hammer of Hope award at the March 1 gala.
The event begins at 6 p.m. and the dress code is “black tie optional.”
This year’s event is being chaired by Doreen Shine.
For more information about the 2013 Habitat Hearts for Heroes Builders Ball, or to purchase tickets or become an event sponsor, contact Sarah Steffen at Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV at (818) 884-8808.
For more information on the project, please check out www.HabitatSCV.org .