Serving Those Who Have Served
Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) homeowner and local veteran Max needed help. The colonial home he purchased in the McKnight neighborhood in 2002 had become a hindrance.
Max suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and rheumatoid arthritis, which makes climbing stairs to the second-floor bedrooms challenging. He expressed his concerns to Habitat, and together, they discovered a solution. Habitat, through its Veterans Build Home Preservation program, is building a downstairs bedroom and bathroom for the veteran and his wife, Gloria.
Veterans Build is a national Habitat for Humanity initiative that provides housing solutions and volunteer and employment opportunities for U.S. veterans, military service members, and their families. The program serves limited-income homeowners who are affected by age, disability, or family circumstances and struggle to maintain the condition and utility of their homes.
The home-preservation program provides affordable micro-loans to qualifying homeowners who need help with accessibility modifications, home weatherization, general home repairs, yard cleanup, and landscaping. GSHFH works alongside volunteers and homeowners to make repairs.
“Massachusetts has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and many aging homeowners are unable to make needed repairs on their own,” said Aimee Giroux, GSHFH’s executive director. “We are happy to be able to help them through the repair process so they can continue to stay in their homes.”
Max, a former Marines corporal, qualified for the Veterans Build Home Preservation program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program. The pilot project gives competitive grants to nonprofits that serve veterans or low-income individuals. The grants can be used to rehabilitate eligible veterans’ primary residences. Purple Heart Homes is donating $15,000 while raising additional funds toward the project. Purple Heart Homes, a nonprofit charity, provides housing solutions for former military members who are disabled and/or have decided to age in place.
“Massachusetts has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and many aging homeowners are unable to make needed repairs on their own. We are happy to be able to help them through the repair process so they can continue to stay in their homes.”
“Every act of generosity toward our veterans echoes a resounding commitment to honor their service and sacrifice. With deep gratitude, Purple Heart Homes is proud to contribute $15,000 to the Greater Springfield Habitat Humanity home-preservation project, ensuring veteran Maxwell finds solace and security in a place he can call home,” said John Gallina, CEO and co-founder of PHH. “Our mission extends beyond this gift, as we embark on a dedicated fundraising campaign to reach a goal of an additional $10,000. We believe we’re better together. In collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, we hope to build a legacy of compassion and support for those who have bravely defended our freedom.”
GSHFH is dedicated to strengthening communities by empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through home ownership and home-preservation opportunities. Since 1987, Greater Springfield Habitat has built or repaired 120 homes in 23 towns. This project represents the first home to utilize ICFs, which will further reduce long-term costs for the future homeowners.
Helping Other Veterans
Last month, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, in association with Window World Military Initiative, Home Depot Repair Corps, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program, performed exterior work for former Army Specialist fourth grade Roland and his wife Jo-Ann.
The pilot project gives competitive grants to nonprofits that serve veterans or low-income individuals. Grants can be used to rehabilitate eligible veterans’ primary residences.
The one-story Monson house, which the couple purchased in 1992, had fallen into disrepair, and Roland said his insurance company didn’t want to insure it because of the state of the siding. He knew of Habitat for Humanity from reading articles about well-known volunteer and former President Jimmy Carter and thought there might be an affiliate in Springfield. When he reached out, Giroux visited his home to help the couple complete the application process.
Window World Military Initiative donated the siding, replacement windows, a new sliding door, and gutters, while also providing volunteer support to help with installation.
“Our family is blessed and honored to live in a country that provides the freedoms that we all enjoy, and as a small family business, we are the example of the American dream,” said Grace Drost, owner of Window World of Western Massachusetts. “With that, we can’t forget that those freedoms and the American dream aren’t free, and we feel this is an opportunity to thank our veterans for the sacrifices they make so our dreams can come true. One of the core values of our company is rooted in changing lives, and this is a chance for our whole team to give back to those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.”
Habitat also replaced the deck and repaired the shed roof and cleaned up the yard.
“Habitat is excellent,” Roland said. “I’m very pleased.”