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New homes for veterans coming to Santa Clarita, Sylmar

Ribbon cutting

Plans to build nearly 100 homes for veterans in Santa Clarita and Sylmar advanced this week as the California Department of Veterans Affairs said it would fund the project and released new details. 

The so-called Habitat for Heroes veterans village would be built by Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley using a $21-million award from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, plus private donations, agency officials said. The announcement was marked at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Santa Clarita on Monday.

Eighty-seven three- to four-bedroom homes measuring 1,450-square-feet each would be built in Santa Clarita. At least nine would be designed for adults with disabilities, said Donna Deutchman, chief executive of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley. An additional 12 homes would be built in Sylmar. Advocates are seeking additional donors to help fund the project.

Deutchman said the green energy-efficient properties would be priced lower than their market value--$276,000 or less in Santa Clarita and $256,000 or lower in Sylmar.

To qualify for a home in Santa Clarita, a veteran’s family income must range between $52,000 and $83,000 a year, and between  $45,000 and $83,650 for a home in Sylmar. If there is more than one applicant per home, the decision to  award the home would be based on need, Deutchman said.

CalVet home loans would be available to eligible veterans in addition to  a Habitat SF/SCV second loan, according to information published about the project. In the case of the Sylmar homes, a deferred silent third loan would be available from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, CalVet officials said.

Veterans would be encouraged to provide “sweat equity” to help reduce the costs of building  the homes, officials said.

Deutchman said that about 11,000 veterans live in Santa Clarita, and about700 of them — mostly young people — had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Purchasing these new properties would allow the ex-service members to “acquire a piece of the American Dream,” CalVet Secretary Peter J. Gravett said in a statement.

“These planned veteran communities will not only bring veterans together but will also offer them a neighborhood that promotes self-sufficiency,” he added.

Veterans wishing to participate in this program must first apply to Habitat for Humanity SF/SVC at www.HabitatSCV.org.

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-- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Photo: Monday's ribbon-cutting at a site where new vets' homes will be built in Santa Clarita. Credit: Bridgett D. Mills, Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV.                               

 
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