From L to R: Melani Austin (Lockheed Martin), Russ Williams (District Representative for Assemblyman Tom Lackey), Donna Deutchman (President & CEO, Homes 4 Families and Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV), Jim Purtee (Palmdale City Manager), James Ledford (Mayor of Palmdale), Joyce Gonzales (Antelope Valley Chevrolet), Congressman Steve Knight, Lou Gonzales (Antelope Valley Chevrolet), Theresa Gunn (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Hunt Braly (Chairman, Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV), Patsy Ayala (Field Representative for Senator Scott Wilk).
On July 5, 2017 along with The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the City of Palmdale, and over 100 guests, we broke ground on our 56 new homes for low income veteran families in Palmdale.
This CalVet REN (Residential Enriched Neighborhood) offers permanent, affordable home ownership with manageable loan payments and family enrichment services to low income veterans and their families. This community will be built in the Enriched Neighborhood® model which was developed by Homes 4 Families™ with wraparound services such as financial literacy, trauma-informed care, and proven positive outcomes; the homes themselves will be built by Habitat for Humanity, San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys and strongly supported by the City of Palmdale Housing Authority.
Among those present at the groundbreaking ceremony were U.S. Congressman Steve Knight, CalVet Deputy Secretary for the Farm and Home Loans Division Theresa Gunn, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, City of Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, Palmdale City Council member Austin Bishop, Palmdale City Manager James Purtee, Palmdale Director of Neighborhood Services Mike Miller, Lockheed Martin VP of Execution and Integration Melani Austin, Northrop Grumman Manager of Palmdale Site Security Shane March, Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV Chair Hunt Braly, and Homes 4 Families and Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV President & CEO Donna Deutchman.
Some of the veteran service organization partners present were Goodwill, the Antelope Valley Veterans Community Action Coalition, Mental Health America of Los Angeles,
Juan Blanco representing Coffee for Vets, EDD of Lancaster, and PATH Veterans employment services.
“With the help of our community partners, we’re excited to begin construction on 56 new homes for our veterans and their families,” said CalVet Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani in a statement. “Because our veterans pitch in and help throughout the project, it becomes a personally rewarding experience for them. We’ve seen great outcomes from our first two projects in Sylmar and Santa Clarita and this is yet another step toward helping our heroes achieve the American dream of home ownership.”
“Our Veterans understand the meaning of leadership, dedication, and service, plus they bring these important skills to our community. They are truly an asset,” said Donna E. Deutchman, Chief Executive Officer, Homes 4 Families™ and Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV.
“This is a project that our entire community is proud of,” said Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford. “Along with our other Veteran preferred housing programs currently in progress, it sends a message to the brave men and women who have served our great nation that we truly care about you.”
Like the two previous CalVet REN veteran communities built in Sylmar and Santa Clarita, the Palmdale Enriched Neighborhood® will focus on the unique needs of veterans in the local community. In Palmdale, more land is available and more of the veteran population is either very young or aging, therefore all units will be 1-story ADA accessible and a number of 2-bedroom units will be available for first-time and senior homeowners. Additional innovative accommodations for veteran disabilities will be included.