Program lets veterans get their own homes
Valley Press Staff Writer low or nointerest loans. Homeowners will pay no more than 30% of their monthly income towards their mortgage, taxes, insurance and homeowners association dues.
“It’s based around the idea of selfsufficiency. They own the home, they own the land beneath them,” said Bridgett Mills, Homes 4 Families senior director of project design
and urban planning.
The organization conducted an informational meeting Friday to help familiarize local veterans and officials with the housing program.
The project is a joint effort with Homes 4 Families, the city and the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
For those qualifying, Calvet offers lowinterest loans of up to $160,000 that are not available through other lenders, Mills said.
Additionally, the city offers a $50,000 zerointerest loan for each house that does not have to be paid back for 45 years.
Beyond that, Homes 4 Families offers zerointerest loans to cover the remaining costs. “Ours is the leftovers,” Mills said.
Homes 4 Families strives to help applicants meet the loan requirements, working to overcome whatever obstacles may prevent them from being accepted until they can meet the qualifications, said Cesar Villavicencio, housing and financial counselor.
If accepted, a $100 down payment is necessary to secure the home and home buyers are required to contribute 500 hours in “sweat equity” to the project. This may entail working on construction of the homes themselves as well as time spent in workshops on topics such as financial literacy, home ownership and maintenance, and traumainformed care.
“This is so that you have an investment in your community, in your home,” Mills said.
The workshops also help build a supportive community for residents, as do partnerships with other local organizations for programming such as providing community mentors.
The twobedroom houses are $220,000, and the threebedroom versions are $250,000.
All are singlestory and feature two full bathrooms, attached garages and solar panels, and include features or modifications for American with Disabilities Act accessibility and to address other specific needs of the veteran community. This includes LED lighting to avoid the buzzing of fluorescent lights that can trigger posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury symptoms, higher electrical plugs to avoid the need to bend to the floor and an open floor plan in the living areas.
“We’ve had veterans tell us they like to see everything,” Mills said.
The neighborhood will feature a tot lot for children, a community garden and outdoor common areas. Each home will also have small side and backyards, Mills said.
Grading has begun at the site, just north of Avenue R on the east side of Division Street, and organizers expect to have the first phase ready for occupancy within about 18 months, Mills said.
The project will be built in phases, with full buildout expected in about three to four years.
The first six homebuyers have qualified so far for the project, Mills said.
“We’re ready to hit the ground running now,” she said.
Homes 4 Families is finishing a similar 78home veterans housing project in Santa Clarita, and has previous projects in Sylmar and Pacoima that were not strictly for veterans.
For details on qualifications or to apply, contact Cesar Villavicencio at 8188848808, Ext. 210, or cvillavicen[email protected] Homes4families.org.
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LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles teachers’ strike that sent thousands of shouting educators into downtown streets, paralyzing traffic during a rainstorm and leaving a halfmillion students in uncertainty, isn’t the kind of publicity Mayor Eric Garcetti needed for his potential presidential campaign.
The Democratic mayor, who has said he will soon decide whether to enter the 2020 White House contest, would anchor his candidacy to the idea that local government is where things get done in America, in contrast to the turmoil and vast political divide in President Donald Trump’s Washington.
But the televised scenes of
— This is an artist concept of one the homes planned for the Palmdale Veteran Enriched Neighborhood, a 56-home development for low-income veterans and their families being built by Homes 4 Families.