Habitat, Veterans Council aims to serve those who have served

2014-03-06T18:45:00Z 2014-06-05T13:50:10Z Habitat, Veterans Council aims to serve those who have servedMary Wilds Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 06, 2014 6:45 pm  • 

GARY | Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana announced a partnership Thursday that will eventually put a Northwest Indiana veteran’s family in a new home.

Habitat announced its partnership with NWI Veterans Actions Council on Veterans Build in a ceremony Thursday in front of Habitat’s model home near the intersection of Ridge Road and Colfax Street, next to the Habitat store.

Both groups will raise money for what will eventually be a Habitat home for a local veteran or a local veteran’s surviving family. An initial breakfast fundraiser will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. April 11 at St. Elijah Serbian Hall, 8700 Taft St. in Merrillville. Tickets are $20.

During Thursday’s kickoff, West Side High School’s ROTC presented colors, the national anthem was played and veterans were recognized.

“Today is about serving those who’ve served,” said Dan Klein, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Indiana.

Habitat and the NWI Veterans Action Council currently are seeking qualifying veterans' families to apply for this project.

“We need your help to identify a partnering family,” said Michael Sparber, chairman of the Veterans Action Council.

The applicant chosen will partake in a process that includes “sweat equity,” Habitat’s term for the volunteer hours its clients put in to help build the homes they eventually buy.

Once the home is completed, the family will receive a loan at zero percent interest, meaning that its monthly mortgage payment will be $500.

“Our goal is to (build) this house by the end of the year, with your help,” Sparber said.

Veterans can be an underserved population because of their reluctance to ask for help, said David Gilkeson, director of Veterans Build at Habitat International.

“The veteran population is not one to raise its hand and identify a need to be helped,” he said. “(Veterans) don’t always ask for help (even when) they need it.”

Currently, Northwest Indiana is home to 37,000 veterans, Sparber said. If every region resident donated a dollar to the project, six new homes for veterans could be built, he said.

In addition to tickets for the April 11 event, levels of sponsorship are available. To purchase tickets, call (219) 923-7265, ext. 311, or email veteran@nwihabitat.org.

* This story has been corrected from an earlier version.

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