Patterson and Oakland County save veteran’s home

A 65-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran from Oakland County will keep his home thanks to the efforts of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and the county’s Community & Home Improvement (CHI) and Veterans’ Services divisions.

The veteran, who asked to remain anonymous, and his wife faced losing their home because of a failing septic system. They did not have the funds to make the $25,000 repair. They also help support their four grandchildren on their fixed income and their daughter who lives with chronic illness. The daughter and grandchildren live in a separate home. The veteran and his wife did not qualify for a traditional low-income home improvement loan because their income surpassed the required threshold.

He then wrote a letter to Patterson requesting help.

“We have lived in our home… for nine years,” he wrote. “My wife loves our home, she gives everything she has to my grandchildren seven days a week, 24 hours a day and now she is going to lose the one thing she loves and deserves.”

Moved by the veteran’s circumstances, Patterson directed CHI and Veterans’ Services to work with their community partners to find a solution, the press release stated.

“Right now, Oakland County is participating in the 100 Day Challenge to end veteran homelessness,” Patterson said. “I wanted to ensure that we honored this veteran’s service in Vietnam by keeping him and his wife in their home.”

CHI housing counselor Lon Shook and Veterans’ Services Supervisor Lauren Chamberlin reached out to the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and Michigan Veterans Homeowners Assistance Program which together identified funds to replace the septic system. The trust fund approved $10,000 in assistance and the homeowners assistance program will provide $16,500.

When the veteran learned the grants were approved, he said, “It was one of the most amazing feelings I ever felt. For months we had been thinking we were going to have to leave our home, about the packing we had to do, and how we were going to have to come up with the money to move. I felt safe again.”

“We always do our best for our veterans and in this case we are delighted it worked out so well,” Chamberlin said.

The veteran served as a soldier in the U.S. Army in Vietnam in 1970. He is a 100 percent service- connected disabled veteran who faces the daily challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Oakland County kicked off its participation in the 100 Day Challenge to stamp out veteran homelessness on Nov. 19. CHI and Veterans’ Services have partnered with the county Health Division’s Homeless Healthcare Collaborative, Detroit VA Healthcare System, Michigan Works!, Treatment and Training Innovations, Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency and Community Housing Network to eliminate veteran homelessness in Oakland County by March 1, 2015.

Veterans make up less than eight percent of the population, but represent 16 percent of homeless adults, according to the U.S. government.

Patterson is asking veterans or individuals who know of a veteran who is homeless or at risk of homelessness to call one of Oakland County’s veterans’ benefits counselors. The numbers are 248- 858-0785 or 248-655-1250.

“We owe a debt to all of our veterans. I’m counting on residents to join our efforts to ensure every veteran in Oakland County has a place to call home,” Patterson said.

For more information, go to Veterans and their family members may drop in without an appointment at either Veterans’ Services Division location:
•    South Oakland Office Building | Entrance B 1151 Crooks Road, Troy
•    North Office Building 26E | Second Floor 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac

To reach CHI’s housing counseling services, call 248-858-1891.

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