[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Veterans Sought for Future Habitat Housing (Video) | 10-07-2012
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
45°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 5
1864 - L.A. Star newspaper report: County supervisors have accepted Beale's Cut as complete [story]


| Sunday, Oct 7, 2012
Loading...
Habitat for Humanity's Donna Deutchman, House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon and CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett cut the ribbon to the future Habitat for Heroes housing project on Centre Pointe Parkway.

The ribbon has been cut and the speeches made – and now, veterans can apply to get one of the 87 homes planned for the first-ever Habitat for Heroes veteran village in Santa Clarita and a smaller village of 13 homes in Sylmar.

On Monday, officials from Washington, Sacramento and City Hall gathered at an open field on Centre Pointe Parkway where the village will be built to laud the work of volunteers in coming up with the plan to build the community and support local service members.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the California Department of Veteran Affairs announced that it has set aside more than $21 million for this project, part of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley’s efforts to help local veterans.

With the support of CalVet, in concert with Southern California Gas Company in partnership with KHTS AM 1220, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and local nonprofit agencies, the Santa Clarita village is expected to come to fruition in the near future, with groundbreaking in late spring or early summer 2013 and the first home ready in early 2014.

Click to enlarge

The village will be comprised of three- and four-bedroom homes which can be purchased using a CalVet Home Loan, a Habitat SF/SCV second loan and, in the case of an additional 13 homes being built in Sylmar, a deferred silent third loan from HCD. Veterans will be required to provide sweat equity to reduce the costs and help build these green energy-efficient, affordable homes.

War veteran Lt. Renard Thomas, who will be one of the village’s first residents, was anxious to get the program started.

“I’m really fired up and excited about this opportunity. There are over 10,000 veterans in the SCV. I also work at the College of the Canyons as a director of the veterans program where we serve over 600 veterans. And this is such a tremendous opportunity,” Thomas said. “If your objective was to serve the veterans, you guys have achieved your objective. There is no better to say thank you than to offer a veteran the opportunity to have a home.”

Secretary Peter J. Gravett, Major General (Ret.) of the California Department of Veterans Affairs, expressed his gratitude for the multi-agency cooperation and support.

“Thank you all for what you’ve done, this is a great project for the state, this community and for veterans,” Gravett said. “This is the first project of this kind; it took all of you to make this event happen today and it will take all of you to turn the first shovel of dirt, which I hope is soon, to the ribbon cutting on the first home.

“California is the most popular state in the nation,” he continued. “It stands to reason that we’d have more veterans. Of the over two million veterans in the state, this community, per capita, has more veterans than any other part of the state. We are very excited about this collaboration with Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley and Housing and Community Development because it will allow veterans in the Sylmar and Santa Clarita areas to acquire a piece of the American Dream,” he added.

CalVet Sec. Peter J. Gravett (Major General, Ret.) greets Lt. Renard Thomas, who will be the first resident of the new veterans’ village.

“These planned veteran communities will not only bring veterans together but will also offer them a neighborhood that promotes self-sufficiency. Innovative programs like this one are a great example of government, at all levels working in collaboration with the private sector, to meet a serious need,” he continued. “The Governor initiated the ICV (Interagency Council on Veterans) to identify programs like this and highlight them and if possible, replicate them throughout California.”

Representative Howard P. “Buck” McKeon stepped up to the microphone and added his thanks to those who worked to make the village project come to fruition. McKeon, who serves as the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, then asked all veterans in attendance to stand.

As the applause died down, he addressed the veterans directly.

“Thank you all very much for your service. Some of you served in Vietnam and you didn’t get this kind of treatment when you came home. I apologize for that, we all apologize for all that.”

He made note of the difference between that time and the current national support of the military.

“It’s like night and day, I see people thanking veterans when they walk by in the airport and how they are showing their appreciation, which is the way a country should react. But it’s a lot because of what happened after Vietnam and the Vietnam veterans vowed that would never happen again. Thank you for that.”

McKeon shared with the group some of the work he’s done in Washington on behalf of veterans.

“You know, you wouldn’t think this was possible, but in Washington, we have an Armed Services Committee and we have a Veterans Affairs Committee and they had never met together until about a month ago,” he explained. “The chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee also serves on the Armed Services Committee and we said this is crazy, so we had a joint hearing….to ask them why it’s taking so long to get medical records together and solve problems, because all of the soldiers, sailors, Marines that we’re concerned about on the Armed Services Committee eventually become veterans. We should be working hand in hand, and that was the first step to make sure that happens.

“TAP (Transition Assistance Program), the program that helps our military people before they leave the service to get oriented, we’ve really improved that program, we’ve stepped up the time to help orient these people before they leave by 70 percent. So we’re making some good gains there,” he said.

“Our veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan now – (are coming home to) 24 percent unemployment, 40 percent among the wounded. And this sequestration that you’ve probably heard about that I’ve been fighting for the last year, because it’s going to cut so deeply into the military. It’s going to take 200,000 Army and Marines out of uniform and instead of bringing them home to victory parades, we’re putting them on the unemployment lines. That’s crazy.”

From left: U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, CalVet Secretary Peter Gravett, KHTS Co-Owner Carl Goldman , developer Jack Shine.

McKeon also took a moment to thank Habitat For Humanity board member Jack Shine, a developer who built several neighborhoods in the early days of the city and has now turned his focus to Habitat and helping with the veteran’s village.

Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar, a veteran himself, promised the city’s support of the program.

“It is such a pleasure to be part of the City of Santa Clarita that stands so solid behind our veterans,” he said. “The city is going to roll up its sleeves and do everything to facilitate and make this project possible. Nothing happens in this city without a team effort and we see it time and time again, where we all come together and work hard and we get things done. Thank you so much, we’re just honored to be here.”

Donna Deutchman, CEO of Habitat For Humanity SF/SCV, acknowledged the government’s cooperation in this project.

“It is very rare that a government agency like the City of Santa Clarita or like the California Veterans Administration under Secretary Gravett’s leadership, we had to create new programs, we had to create new ways of doing mortgages, we had to do many, many things to make more houses available for more veterans in better ways and to do enriched programming for the veterans to get the services they need,” she said. “California’s veterans are uniquely gifted by having a leader like Secretary Gravett and have an agency that follows him and is willing to go the extra mile and not be bogged down by bureaucratic conditions that say we will not try new things, but rather we will try new things and we will find a way to do them with excellence.”

Veterans wishing to participate in this program must first apply to Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV by visiting their website (www.HabitatSCV.org). Once they are approved by Habitat SF/SCV, they will then undergo the approval process for a CalVet Home Loan.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. paris911 says:

    It’s about time the veterans were given a break. Great job by everyone involved. Kudos to all.

  2. Lamay Darnel says:

    Thank G-D Almighty,A place for our men to really come home to,My husband has an honorable discharge a life member of D.A.V. was a combat medic in Vietnam with the army Eng.can’t tell you how many time we have been denied ,renting a place as soon as the rental managers learn he is a Vietnam vet. All of a sudden the unite is rented or needs repair. It’s too late for my husband and I but at least it’s not too late for the younger ones Thank you All

SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
Related Content
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015
Measles Case Reported in Valencia
Los Angeles County Health officials have identified the first recent case of measles in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015
State: Castaic School District Won’t Be Meeting Its Financial Obligations
Castaic Union School District is one of five districts in the state to receive a "negative certification" from the California Department of Education, state schools superintendent Tom Torlakson announced Wednesday.
Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015
SCV Man Arrested for Attempted Murder in Burbank Knife Attack
Cameron Hansen, 29, of Santa Clarita, was arrested by Burbank PD officers and charged with attempted murder, officials said Wednesday.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1864 - L.A. Star newspaper report: County supervisors have accepted Beale's Cut as complete [story]
The Board of Directors of the Newhall, Valencia & Stevenson Ranch branch of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) has announced the selection of Gordon Schaffner as Regional Commissioner for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Mr. Schaffner succeeds Louis Chevalier who led the program from 2013 to 2015.
Local AYSO Names New Commissioner
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the project is expected to be held Wednesday, March 18 at 2 p.m. at the Golden Valley Road Bridge over the 14 freeway. Actual construction should start in April.
Widening of GV Bridge to Start Soon
Tonight on SCV Newsbreak, measles has now been reported in Valencia, and the Albert Einstein Academy coach accused of multiple sex crimes with students has been extradited back to Los Angeles.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, March 4, 2015
News and events from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
SCV Chamber News (3-4-2015)
Concerned the ceramics you picked up at the local thrift show or the antique glassware passed down for generations in your family is radioactive? Bring it in to be tested during CSUN's annual Nuclear Physics Laboratory Open House.
Family Heirlooms Glow in the Dark? Get Them Tested
Mama Bear was now alone, but she and her kids still had family - the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has helped them ever since. “I wouldn’t have made it without them, financially and emotionally.”
Calla Lily Shadows
As an experienced tutor, the biggest area kids struggle in is testing, regardless of age, ethnicity or socioeconomic background. That is because testing is unnatural. It juxtaposes the natural processes that occur when we learn in and out of the classroom.
Testing is Unnatural | Commentary by Samantha Spigelman
Los Angeles County Health officials have identified the first recent case of measles in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Measles Case Reported in Valencia
Castaic Union School District is one of five districts in the state to receive a "negative certification" from the California Department of Education, state schools superintendent Tom Torlakson announced Wednesday.
State: Castaic School District Won’t Be Meeting Its Financial Obligations
Participants will learn about what is expected of them as a sports parent, their role in keeping sports fun and how to understand and manage a relationship with the team’s coach.
March 12: Learn to Be a Positive ‘Sports Parent’
Cameron Hansen, 29, of Santa Clarita, was arrested by Burbank PD officers and charged with attempted murder, officials said Wednesday.
SCV Man Arrested for Attempted Murder in Burbank Knife Attack
Former Einstein Academy basketball coach Randy Jackson, who was charged with a litany of sex crimes against several former students he worked with in the L.A. area, was extradited from Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and taken into custody Tuesday night, according to Sheriff’s Department records.
Ex-Einstein Coach Extradited to L.A. to Face Molestation Charges
With seven workshops and a webinar slated for March, Caltrans invites the public to help shape the state’s transportation future by offering their input and comments on the California Transportation Plan 2040, which lays out a vision for California's transportation future to support a vibrant economy and our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
Here’s Your Chance to Weigh In on State’s ‘Transportation Future’
Nominees for 2015 Santa Clarita Valley Man and Woman of the Year.
Nominees Unveiled for SCV Man, Woman of the Year
1940 - NYC premiere of "The Marines Fly High" starring Lucille Ball, filmed in Placerita Canyon [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: Thursday's at Newhall are gearing up to start the season beginning March 5th.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Presented in partnership with the SCV Family of Water Suppliers, Earth Arbor Day is a fun, festive and free way to learn about new eco-friendly products, programs and local organizations, as well as to increase your family’s environmental awareness.
The Hills Are Alive
Shannon Rider, a Santa Clarita Valley mom and full-time Verizon employee, was diagnosed last year with Stage IV PMP cancer, or pseudomyxoma peritonei appendix cancer, with a prognosis of 2 to 5 years.
Days Numbered, Local Mom Needs Help for Surgery
The proposed application will request replacement of two of the current buses for the SCV Senior Center that are almost 15 years old as well as provide GPS navigation and tracking systems for all five buses to improve efficiency of transportation services.
March 16 Hearing: Senior Center Seeks Bucks for Buses
Workshops and seminars for local entrepreneurs, from the Small Business Development Center at College of the Canyons.
Learn Secrets to Starting a New Business
Over 40 restaurants and caterers serve up all the food you can eat, all the wine & beer you can drink, plus top-notch entertainment, silent & live auctions in a beautiful garden setting.
May 3: Taste of the Town (Mark Your Calendar)
The Palmdale Sheriff's Station has the largest patrol area of all Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stations, covering an area approximately 1,300 square miles and serving more than a quarter of a million community members.
Off-road Enforcement: Policing On the Rocks
The Red Cross is here to make sure you are as prepared as you possibly can be for potential disasters and other emergencies. These events can strike suddenly, at any time and anywhere. There are three actions everyone can take that can help make a difference.
March 6: Red Cross Shares Disaster Prep Tips Over Lunch