A collaboration between Purple Heart Homes and Citi to provide housing solutions for service-connected disabled veterans will mean that a number of military veterans and their families will soon be able to start new lives in their new homes. Starting this month with former U.S. Army Corporal Hamilton Kinard and his family, who moved into a fully renovated new home in Claxton, Georgia, Purple Heart Homes and Citi are helping injured returning troops begin the next phase of their lives with the modified housing and support they need.
Under the program, Citi works with Purple Heart Homes to identify properties in its REO inventory that are in locations in which a service-connected disabled veteran is in need of a housing arrangement that accommodates his/her injury-related challenges. Purple Heart Homes then works with third-party contractors to modify homes based on the needs of the individuals and their families.
Corporal Kindard, who sustained multiple injuries from an IED explosion while serving in Iraq, is living with the challenges of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cervical strain, hearing loss and degenerative disc disease. The Kinards' new five-bedroom, single-story ranch has been modified with wider doorways and hallways, a handicap-accessible bathroom and a new kitchen. As part of their assimilation back into civilian life, Corporal Kindard and his wife will also participate in a new mentorship program that will provide training on home maintenance and money management as well as financial counseling and career guidance.
"Both Purple Heart Homes and Citi recognize that service-connected disabled veterans who have served our country need homes that can be modified and adapted to provide them with a safe, barrier-free living environment," says John Galina, Co-founder of Purple Heart Homes. "In addition, they need training and the support of mentors to thrive in their new communities and civilian lives."
When disabled veterans move into their newly renovated homes, the community plays a vital role by welcoming new families and providing a crucial and immediate sense of belonging. Purple Heart Homes recruits and engages members of each community to volunteer with painting, landscaping, and gardening tasks, as well as raising funds to help cover the costs of the home modifications, which average $70,000 per property. Purple Heart Homes recipients are also encouraged to reciprocate by getting involved in local volunteer opportunities.
In addition to the Kinards, two other families will move into homes donated to Purple Heart Homes by Citi in the coming months. Army Specialist Alba Tanner, who suffers from PTSD, right arm paralysis, limited jaw motion and tinnitus, will relocate from Hammond, Louisiana, to an Atlanta home that will be fully renovated by Purple Heart Homes. Army veteran Jim Lea and his wife Teresa from Osawatomie, Kansas, will leave the 30-foot travel trailer in which they have been living to move into a small cottage while a larger home on the property is renovated. Lea suffers from severe PTSD and other injuries sustained during his tour of duty in Vietnam.
"Citi is pleased that we can work with Purple Heart Homes where possible to identify opportunities to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who served our country," said Natalie Abatemarco, Managing Director for National Initiatives at Citi Community Development. "By selectively tapping into our inventory of REO properties, we can help these families rebuild their lives while also revitalizing neighborhoods by returning renovated homes back to the market."
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