The phrase “Support our Troops” does not become null and void once combat veterans return home. The rigors of service can affect our troops in ways that we cannot comprehend. The transition from soldier to citizens isn’t as simple as one may think; post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and physical injuries are just a few ailments that can hinder a veteran from becoming a contributing member of society. Since they’ve once served us Habitat for Humanity of Orange County (Habitat OC) feels it’s our turn to serve them.
What once started as an idea from a local Habitat OC volunteer, has blossomed into a full fledge initiative to help those who risked it all for their country. The idea began as Habitat for Heroes and Foundations for Families™ neighborhood, which marketed homes to veterans in the city of San Juan Capistrano.
Habitat for Heroes and Foundations for Families™ has since evolved into the Habitat OC Veterans Initiative, with the hopes of helping a greater number of veterans to find a comfortable and stable home for their families. Our veteran’s initiative aims to engage active service members, veterans, as well as their families and the families of the fallen.
It’s becoming harder to survive in society as a combat veteran. Many post 9/11 veterans are having trouble finding employment or a steady residence after they return from service. 73.6% of post 9/11 combat veterans claim they did not have a job once they left the military. 71.2% were unemployed and did not receive assistance in finding a job. Of the veterans that were able to gain full-time employment, 64.7% of them reported earning less than $48,000 annually. 34.5% of veterans reported that they did not have a permanent place to live, with 17.5% reporting being homeless with the past 30 days. As a community we have to have the heart and to lend a hand-up and not a hand out to our country’s veterans.
Habitat OC not only serves veteran families through the opportunity of homeownership but also has a strong repair program designed to serve veterans who own their homes but have physical or financial challenges in maintaining the home. Issues of health, safety and accessibility are key areas of focus of support.
With 130,000 veterans, Orange County has the fourth largest population in California. Being in close proximity to numerous major military bases uniquely positions Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to lend a helping hand to those veterans that are in need. We will continue to expand our efforts and invite the Orange County community to join us.
Collect new blankets this month and donate them to HomeAid. Help us Spread the Warmth to those experiencing homelessness that are on the streets or in emergency shelters.
HomeAid has been ending homelessness with Habitat for Humanity since 1999 through the development of a duplex for families in need that added 12 beds. HomeAid and Habitat also collaborate on community outreach activities that serve homeless families and individuals.
Many post 9/11 veterans are having trouble finding employment or a steady residence after they return from service.