The shock is still wearing off three days after Dera Taylor moved into her new home here. The former Army combat clerk is the third recipient of a Hero’s Home, a new program pairing disabled, homeless veterans with affordable housing.
“I felt like I had lost so much and it (the house) just brings it all back,” said Taylor.
Taylor left the military struggling with mental health and financial issues, which prevented her from finding stable housing. After a period of homelessness, the mother of three reached out to Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) for help. That’s when her luck turned around.
Heartland Home Buyers, LLC, a property management company in Beavercreek, was also working with VASH to establish a program for helping veterans like Taylor.
Co-owner Sondra McKibben explained the company flips houses, furnishes them and then rents them to vets at an affordable price. McKibben’s family includes both former and current military members, including a daughter who also struggled with mental illness and homelessness.
“They’re the ones who served for our country and I think we all need to give back,” said McKibben.
Much of the time, effort and resources come from community partners, investors and donors.
McKibben said she hopes file for 501(c) non-profit status and plans to transform at least three more Hero’s Homes by the end of 2018.
An emotional Taylor said the restored home also helped restore her dignity.
“This gives me the confidence, the self-esteem,” Taylor said. “It brings back those things I’ve lost, in double-fold.”
You can learn more about the program, including how to contribute to the cause here.