Santa Clarita Valley’s veteran population exceeds 10,000, according to recent Census data. Another report reveals the area is home to a disproportionally high number of veterans — more than 700 — from Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been well documented that many of them return to poor living conditions due to financial hardships, while others deal with new disabilities and no means to modify their homes. There are countless others who served years ago, but now struggle in their later years with new disabilities.
Almost 43,000 military personnel have been wounded in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. (U.S. Department of Defense) Many of these wounded soldiers and veterans require modified housing. We hear their stories every day. They must deal with post-war injuries, punctuated by a major lack of jobs; a housing market in turmoil; and a rapidly changing economy that is leaving many behind.
Reports indicate that 80,000 vets who served after 9/11 are paying more than 50% of their income for housing, leaving little for repairs or modifications to their homes. Often their homes fall into foreclosure, leaving the families, their neighbors and the community at risk. Many homes fall into despair.
This data prompted our community along with Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys(SF/SCV) to launch a new special program “SCV Habitat for Heroes.” This project is designed to address the needs of those heroes who have served our nation, and all of us, with courage and honor.
SCV Habitat for Heroes may not be a “golden parachute” that so many of us seek, but it will be a new start for many of our veteran families. The need is great — but where there’s a need, there’s an even greater opportunity to get involved and help. Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV is looking for partners, volunteers, in-kind and cash donors, and others to step in to ensure veterans get the assistance they need to empower them towards ongoing wellness and self-sufficiency. A number of organizations have already signed on to lend a hand in our efforts. Won’t you join us?