Many of us have heard of the pervasive problem of homeless veterans, which the National Coalition for the Homeless estimates number between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night. But what about vets who own homes, but due to disability or financial troubles, can’t afford to maintain them? Staff at the City of Miami Services Office became concerned about this issue and partnered with Home Depot to provide grants to renovate vets’ homes that badly need it.
The first to benefit from this program is Army veteran George Carswell. Disabled due to his service in Vietnam, Carswell lived with his mother Minnie Lee Spann in the home she purchased in 1964. Since her death, Carswell hasn’t had the funds to keep up with the maintenance, completing no significant repairs since 1978; the home was in danger of collapsing.
That’s when Home Depot stepped up and donated $20,000 to make the necessary improvements. Local Home Depot store manager Alberto Contreras even came out to work and personally oversee the renovation. “The house was in deplorable conditions and not livable,” Contreras told Carma Henry of the Westside Gazette. “If the house wasn’t repaired it would’ve been demolished.”
Not only did the volunteer workers stabilize the home, they beautified it, with new paint, windows, doors, sod, and a rose garden planted in the memory of Carswell’s mother.
The partnership between Miami’s Veterans Services Office and the Home Depot aims to help four more veterans with similar repairs this year. Miami mayor Thomas Regalado said, “My goal is to ensure that our Veterans are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. We are trying to get them the services they need.”
One way to reduce the number of homeless veterans is to prevent vets from becoming homeless in the first place, and the generous people behind this home repair effort in Miami are doing their best to achieve that.