North Long Beach, CA.

That’s the year I learned how to service Veterans and their families buying a home using their VA loan guarantee. Looking back, it’s also one of the most frustrating times of my life as over the course of five years of helping only Veterans, (I couldn’t process an FHA or Conventional loan request if my life depended on it.) I never knew about this very valuable resource available to them.

It was frustrating because in taking a loan application for a Veteran so they can buy a home, you look at all their financial resources. Not once in five years with nearly 300 veterans whom I helped, did I ever see a consistent deposit in their bank statement from the VA. Had I seen one, ever, it would have prompted me to ask what it was for, and then I would have learned, FOUR decades ago about what a VA disability benefit is. How many Veterans have I missed because of this one undiscovered fact?

I mean, I had spent 2, 3 days a week fighting traffic on LA freeways to 11000 Wilshire Blvd., aka “VAROLA” to retrieve DD-214’s. COE’s, apply for blanket approvals for new construction projects, so why didn’t anyone ask me if I knew about this?

I made amazing connections over the years. So much so, I was frequently invited to personal events of some of the chiefs on staff. One chief even persuaded his spouse to secure her real estate license so she could work for me. Which she did. THAT, helped me realize what we did, mattered.

In the hundreds of conversations I had with Veterans asking what they wanted in a home and where they wanted to live, I was taught by my mentor, the number one question to ask the Veterans was, why they wanted to buy a home.

I was told what to expect for a response and in large part the answer was always, “so I can have a dog.”

Baffling. Not a garage. Not a nice kitchen for the spouse. Nor location, beds or baths. A dog.

Today, although the responses may be different for a variety of reasons, the end goal for all of us in this space is to realize; although this applies to all humans, I am specifically referring to Veterans, homeless or not.

A home of their own. Employment. Clean clothes. Food. A safety net.

Are all items which add to the security and quality of life. They can contribute greatly to a life worth living. A life worth fighting for.

What we do addresses each of these areas through our partner resources. PLUS, what most resources cannot deliver, the safety net, we can.

In today’s world, anyone can lose a job. It’s very common and extremely frightening. Particularly to a once-homeless Veteran. Pursuing and obtaining this safety net adds a degree of security few others can.

This then, is our mission. Depending on the statistic source, between 35,000 and 38,000 American Veterans are homeless. We have much work to do with a goal of 100 Veterans assisted per year and appreciate everyone who understands this and chooses to help us make a difference.