Local

August 28, 2014

HomeStrong USA gives opportunity for free home-ownership to local military veteran

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Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan
452 AMW public affairs

A volunteer, working with HomeStrong USA, makes repairs on the outside of a home that is being renovated for a deserving veteran. The non-profit organization donates renovated single-family homes to eligible veterans through its Heroes Donation Program.

Members of March Air Reserve Base have a new opportunity to achieve the American Dream of home ownership, thanks to HomeStrong USA’s Heroes Donation Program.

The program will donate one single family home in the city of Lake Elsinore to an eligible veteran on November 8, 2014.

“We’ve had about 15 donations this year,” said Pete Serbantes, program director, HomeStrong USA. In addition to the Lake Elsinore home, Serbantes said there will also be a giveaway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and in another location in December.

As a local, tax exempt, 501(c) (3) community development organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, California, HomeStrong USA is focused on aid to the poor by means of providing education, counseling and housing opportunities.

The organization began in 1999 and has implemented the Heroes Donation Program for approximately two years, Serbantes said.

Homes in need of rehabilitation are donated to HomeStrong USA from its supporters and business partners. After the organization conducts the renovations of a donated property, it can either be used as part of the Heroes Donation Program or sold to a veteran at a discounted price, Serbantes added.

Veterans who receive a donated home are also provided the education and counseling resources to assist with the transition of home ownership.

“One of the goals and objectives is within your first year of owning a home,” Serbantes said. “We ask that you participate in four financial literacy seminars.”

Free financial management modules, online videos and personal counseling sessions include topics such as budget planning, understanding credit and money saving tips.

“We help people discover and learn about financial literacy, help them apply for loan modifications. All of our services are free,” said Serbantes.

Members from March must apply for the program by October 3. Eligibility requirements for the program include any veteran who is currently serving in the U.S. armed forces or was discharged or released under honorable conditions. Additionally, the winner of the donated home must make it his or her primary residence and not own an additional home concurrently.

For a complete list of eligibility requirements, how to submit the application or nominate someone, and for more information on the program, visit the HomeStrong USA website at www.homestrongusa.org and click on the “Get Involved” tab. Submission deadline for the Lake Elsinore property is Nov. 8, 2014.




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