Santa Clarita‘s first-of-its-kind veterans housing project celebrated a groundbreaking Saturday, a timely event for Veteran’s Day weekend, as the country and community celebrate the contributions and sacrifices from members of the armed forces.
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The housing project has been a two-year effort involving myriad community partnerships, said Donna Deutchman, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.
“Two years of work with Cal Vet, to change an amazing number of regulations in regard to home loans; the city of Santa Clarita, to find the perfect place for our veterans; and the community organizations, to build a real strong group of services our veterans need to achieve self-sufficiency, have now all come together,” Deutchman said.
“We’re ready to build those homes, provide them to our veterans and move them to the middle class, and provide them with the type of homecoming they deserve,” she said.
The community is slated to be built next door to Bowman High School, off Centre Pointe Parkway, near Soledad Canyon Road and Ruether Avenue, in Santa Clarita.
Veterans should start moving into the home within about 12 months, Deutchman said.
A local coalition known as the Habitat for Heroes, of which KHTS AM-1220 has been a partner, has worked to connect community services such as the nearby SCV Child and Family Center with the Habitat project.
As Deutchman accepted checks from the SoCal Gas Company and Union Bank, which gave $10,000 and $25,000, respectively, veterans and community volunteers worked on doors nearby that would ultimately be fitted on veterans’ homes.
“It’s veterans helping veterans,” said Beatrice McGarry, an Air Force veteran who served from 1979 to 1983 and now lives in a veteran community of Habitat-refurbished homes in Sylmar. “They come to help us and now we’re here to help them,” she said, of Saturday’s door-making.
“It’s overwhelming to me to think about. Eighty-seven to me is a great number and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to help out,” she said.
When it’s completed, the project will offer 87 new homes for veterans on 23 acres, in addition to community gardens and playgrounds, and 15 acres of open space.
“It’s important to have these services in place to help those who serve our country,” said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, praising Santa Clarita and its community for being on “the cutting edge” of veteran support services.
“This has been a long time coming, and a lot of people worked hard to make this happen,” he said. “I’m so excited about this project because I see this as a project that can be a model for other communities throughout the country.”
The Santa Clarita Valley, per capita, has the highest population of veterans in California, and the second highest in the nation, according to CalVet figures.
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Source: Santa Clarita News