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Habitat for Humanity to Build Home for Disabled Veteran in Walnut

Photo Credit: Google Maps
Photo Credit: Google Maps
Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity plans to build a home for a disabled veteran and his or her family in Walnut.

The project will be located at 19935 Camino De Rosa.

The Walnut City Council, acting as the Walnut Housing Authority, voted unanimously to approve a property transfer agreement with Habitat for Humanity to enable to project to move forward.

The council members stipulated that Habitat first look for a qualified disabled veteran in Walnut before seeking an applicant from outside the city.

The nonprofit first approached the city about the project during a study session in February.  The agreement was subsequently discussed March 13 in closed session, with the authority members directing staff to work with Habitat for Humanity on the land transfer, according to the staff report.

The authority had the nearly half-acre lot appraised in April and it was determined that the estimated residential market value is $390,000, according to staff.

With the agreement approved, the next step is for Habitat for Humanity to grade the site and develop the home that will be sold to a disabled veteran.

The proposed home will be a two-story, multi-generational, 2,200 square-foot single-family house that is Americans with Disabilities compliant and will be subject to review and approval by the city's Planning Commission.

Jody Gmeiner, Pomona Valley Habitat's president and chief executive officer, said the Walnut house is the first of four the organization plans to build for veterans.

"It's going to be a beautiful home," she said.

The organization follows federal guidelines for income eligibility for the county in which they are building the home. Normally, a qualifying homeowner would be restricted to those who earn 30 to 60 percent of Los Angeles County's median income adjusted for family size. However, because Walnut is an affluent community, the disabled veteran must earn 80 to 100 percent of the median income for the county to qualify, Gmeiner said.

Before escrow closes, Habitat must show proof of financing and on the closing date, the authority will give the nonprofit organization $25,000.  Those funds will go to pay all fees, taxes, and assessments related to the home's development.

The authority has the funds needed to cover the agreement.  There will be no impact to the city's general fund, staff said.

The organization did not have a list of prospective residents at the time of the approval.

"We do not take names for any project until it is approved by the City Council because we would not want to give false hope to anyone," Gmeiner said.

About 85 percent of the materials used to build the house will be donated, she said.  Habitat is working on a plan to make the house green, with the hope to earn the platinum level for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, she said.

To make sure the homeowner can continue to afford it long after move in, the house is sold below market value, with a zero-percent interest mortgage rate. The monthly mortgage and utilities all fall below 30 percent of the family's monthly gross income.

The house is multi-generational for a reason.

"The veteran could be a senior who has a family living with him or it could be a young veteran family who is caring for aging parents," she said. "So it will serve two families."







Vito Spago December 17, 2013 at 09:46 AM
I used think HforH did admirable work, but then when I saw the costs of housing with mortgage, insurance, upkeep, not to mention risk of market drops, it seemed that the owner was not really receiving a benefit but a large 'risk', in addition to being saddled with large payments. Nothing wrong with renting. You can never be upside down and financially wiped out with renting. The 2007 housing disaster was caused by putting financially unqualified folks in houses they could not afford. It just led to grief for everyone involved.

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