Home­less vets are fo­cus of new ini­tia­tive

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The Santa Fe As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors, The Hous­ing Trust, and the Santa Fe County Hous­ing Au­thor­ity are col­lab­o­rat­ing on a new pro­gram to fa­cil­i­tate home own­er­ship for home­less vet­er­ans in Santa Fe. “The Santa Fe As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors is de­lighted to have the op­por­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with these im­por­tant lo­cal af­ford­able hous­ing en­ti­ties to help pro­vide home own­er­ship for our trea­sured Vet­er­ans,” said Melissa Pip­pin-Car­son,” the 2017 pres­i­dent of the Real­tor group. “Our as­so­ci­a­tion be­lieves this pro­gram is a vi­tal home­own­er­ship tool that pro­vides vet­er­ans with a cen­tral­ized, af­ford­able, and ac­ces­si­ble method of pur­chas­ing homes as a ben­e­fit for their ser­vice to our na­tion.”

Amem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing signed by the par­ties on July 11 de­tails how each will work to make the Santa Fe Area Homes for Vets Pro­gram a suc­cess. The Hous­ing Trust will pro­vide ap­pli­cants with home­buyer train­ing, coun­sel­ing, and VA-loan cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. The Santa Fe As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors (SFAR) will pro­vide up to $4,500 per ap­pli­cant for clos­ing costs, ap­praisals, in­spec­tions, ti­tle­work, util­i­ties de­posits, mi­nor re­pairs, and appliances. And the County Hous­ing Au­thor­ity will pro­vide fam­ily self-suf­fi­ciency train­ing and will ad­min­is­ter the HUD-Veteran Af­fairs Sup­port­ive Hous­ing (HUD-VASH) voucher pro­gram. HUD-VASH, a col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gram be­tween the U.S. Depart­ment of Hous­ing & Ur­ban Devel­op­ment and the U.S. Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, com- bines the HUD hous­ing-vouch­ers pro­gram with VA sup­port­ive ser­vices to help vet­er­ans who are home­less and their fam­i­lies find and sus­tain per­ma­nent hous­ing.

“Our mem­bers do­nate for af­ford­able hous­ing,” Pip­pin-Car­son said, “and we have an af­ford­able hous­ing kitty of $15,000. The money has to be spent on af­ford­able hous­ing, but we have the pre­rog­a­tive of choos­ing how the re­cip­i­ents are se­lected and what types of hous­ing we sup­port. There are so­many­wor­thy re­cip­i­ents and that is so dif­fi­cult. We were look­ing for ben­e­fi­cia­ries we thought ev­ery­one could get be­hind, and what re­cip­i­ents are more­wor­thy than vet­er­ans? So we reached out to the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity. They deal with apart­ments more than home own­er­ship. They try to lo­cate home­less vet­er­ans and place them in apart­ments and sus­tain­able liv­ing cir­cum­stances and help them get back on their feet. But they don’t have any­thing that goes into home own­er­ship.” She added that not ev­ery­one wants the re­spon­si­bil­ity of a mort­gage and its nec­es­sary monthly pay­ments that are of­ten higher than apart­ment rents, but she is hop­ing there will be some who are in­ter­ested in home own­er­ship.

Pip­pin-Car­son said this is a home­grown ini­tia­tive, not one based on a sim­i­lar pro­gram else­where. “No, it’s just that vet­er­ans do so much. It’s such a sac­ri­fice, and you want them to suc­ceed. I think this is a win-win. The rea­son we capped it at $4,500 is that we have $15,000 and we don’t an­tic­i­pate hav­ing more than three ap­pli­cants come through this pro­gram in a year’s time, but if we have three suc­cess sto­ries we might con­sider re­vis­ing that num­ber, do whatwe can to raise­more funds.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the Santa Fe County Hous­ing Au­thor­ity at 505-9923060.— PaulWei­de­man

COUR­TESY PHOTO

Shar­ron Welsh, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of The Hous­ing Trust, signs the mem­o­ran­dum; be­hind her are County Com­mis­sioner Robert Anaya; County Com­mis­sioner Henry Roy­bal; Paco Ar­guello, Santa Fe As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent; Melissa Pip­pin-Car­son, SFAR pres­i­dent; County Com­mis­sioner Anna Hansen; County Com­mis­sioner Anna T. Hamil­ton; County Com­mis­sioner Ed Moreno; Joseph Loewy, Santa Fe County Hous­ing Au­thor­ity board mem­ber; and Joseph Mon­toya, Santa Fe County Hous­ing Au­thor­ity ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor

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