Pro­gram lets vet­er­ans get their own homes

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By ALLISON GATLIN

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.

To share your opin­ion on this ar­ti­cle or any other ar­ti­cle, write a let­ter to the ed­i­tor and email it to ed­i­[email protected]­press.com or mail it to Let­ters to Ed­i­tor, PO Box 4050, Palm­dale CA 93590-4050.

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

Con­trib­uted

— 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.

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