They are calling her Jessie, but that is not her real name.
But her story is real.
She is 35-years-old and a combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, what President George W. Bush in 2003 called the mission to remove Saddam Hussein as dictator of Iraq.
In October, fleeing a violent domestic situation, she entered the Volunteers of America Brandon Center in Denver.
She and her two-year-old daughter, who loves art and music, will be among the first residents living in a $400,000 home recently constructed in Denver’s Mayfair neighborhood. An official asked that the exact address not be released of the home, called Clermont Commons.
The home is dedicated to house female veterans and their families. Several families will share the home that has six bedroom and four bedrooms. It has 2,706 square feet, including the mostly finished 879-square-foot basement. It also has a two-car garage.
It is transitional housing. Women are expected to live in the home for one to two years, until they can get back on their feet.
They will pay 30 percent of their income in the equivalent of rent, known as a “program fee” that is capped at $300 a month.
The construction of the home was spearheaded by HomeAid Colorado, the charitable arm of the Colorado Association of Home Builders, which builds homes for Colorado’s homeless.
Building materials and labor on each home are donated, allowing care providers to focus on providing services to help the residents rebuild their lives.
The home will be officially dedicated on Thursday.
Speakers scheduled for the dedication ceremony include Councilwoman Jeanne Robb and Bennie Milliner, the executive director of Denver’s Road Home. During the past seven years, Road Home has provided 2,653 units for the homeless and has provided employment and training for 6,612. Milliner is no stranger to the military, having served in the Air Force for 23 years.
The is the second home HomeAid has built with the VOA and is part of a project to build three homes for Colorado’s female veterans in need of housing and services. The first home was completed in the spring of 2011. The third home is under construction and is expected to be complete in early 2013.
The home was built by New Town Builders, known as the “captain” of the project for its leadership role in the construction.
Gene Myers, CEO of New Town Builders, said he was approached by the board of HomeAid about a year ago to build the house.
“How can you say no when it is such a great cause, especially when it involves homeless veteran women and their families? Now, it is almost Christmas and it is completed,” Myers said. “We know that philanthropic organizations across the country do great things for the male veterans, but there is a gaping need for services that target the female veterans,”
It is a very energy-efficient home. The Home Energy Rating System score is 67. As in golf, the lower the score the better. A score of 67 means the home is 33 percent more energy efficient than a home built up to current codes.
“We accomplished that great score even without the use of solar panels and we are happy that the residents will benefit hugely from this energy efficiency every month when the energy bill comes due,” according to the New Town spokesman.
Added Myers: “What better way to help than to provide housing — compounded by an energy-efficiency that lowers the operational cost on a month-to-month basis?”
“We are thrilled to have this newest HomeAid project come to fruition and we thank New Town Builders and all the partner trades for making this project a reality for VOA and the women and children they help,” said Laura Brayman, executive director of HomeAid Colorado,
Myers said by donating the house, there is more money available for needed training and services.
“Housing is important, but housing is really not the problem,” Myers said. “Housing is a symptom. You can’t address issues such as a lack of education or training, or dealing with domestic abuse, until you address the housing issue.”
This home, and others like it, will have a long-term impact, he said.
“One of the things I like the most about this, is that over the years this house can serve hundreds and hundreds of women and their families,” Myers said. “As one family gets back on their feet, another family can take their place.”
If you are interested in finding a home in the Mayfair and nearby neighborhood, please visit COhomefinder.com
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.
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