Space Coast Paratroopers’ Home for Warriors helps vets rebuild lives
Should you drive around Palm Bay for any length of time, you will probably encounter a truck that attracts the eye with patriotic imagery and “Homes for Warriors” lettering. The colorful vehicle raises awareness of a unique partnership between the city, a very special nonprofit, businesses and individuals.
The seeds for Homes for Warriors, which provides mortgage-free, specially adapted homes to honorably discharged disabled veterans and their families, first took root during the housing bust that left Palm Bay with an abundance of foreclosed homes. City officials, eager to explore new approaches to nurture existing community redevelopment efforts, voted to establish Home for Warriors, which combines federal funding with grants from foundations and businesses, in-kind donations of materials and labor and the support of community volunteers.
To help operate the program, Palm Bay sought a nonprofit partner. Enter the Space Coast Paratroopers Association. The paratroopers joined forces with the city to act as outreach for donations, support and volunteers.
The partnership works extremely well.
“To date, Homes for Warriors has completed seven projects and one additional home is currently under construction,” said Donald Overton, executive director of Space Coast Paratroopers and veterans’ affairs and business specialist for the City of Palm Bay.
“Space Coast Paratroopers are in the process of donating an additional six properties to the city for the program’s continuation.”
With Homes for Warriors, the all-volunteer Space Coast Paratroopers and the City of Palm Bay assist veterans with housing needs and the subsequent rebuilding of lives significantly impacted through combat wounds. Homes are remodeled or built from the ground up and presented to qualifying families mortgage-free, so they need not worry about a decent roof over their heads.
“To the best of our knowledge, this program is the only one of its kind to successfully bring together a local government, private business sector and private citizens in a joint effort toward a common goal, without any personal gain,” Overton said.
“The program and its supporters have rallied together and have accomplished a true sense of community and unanimous support for veterans.”
Four families already have been selected for the additional six homes. For the first time in the program’s history, two of the recipients are female vets.
“We acknowledge the increasingly difficult role our women veterans are fulfilling in our modern military,” Overton said.
“Our veterans can focus on their recovery.”
For more information on Homes for Warriors, go to spacecoastparatroopers.org.