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Vets Housing: The Local Touch

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Most veterans who are active at the county level know the name Larry Sklar. Many who have attended Yankee games may remember the individual often found there raising funds for Veteran activities in the NY Metro area. I am lucky to call Larry my friend for some time now. That is why I am not surprised by Larry's latest venture aimed at helping the returning veteran. It sounds like a winner to me. For more information about this project contact Larry Sklar at (646) 641-8460.

Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes, Inc.

Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes, Inc. was organized to provide housing to veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The organization expects to select a veteran who is in need of housing, to develop, construct or rehabilitate a residence to suit the needs of the veteran, and convey the residence to the veteran, in return for a first mortgage equal to the costs of constructing the residence. No down payment will be required and principal will be amortized over a fifteen or twenty-year period, which will be selected to ensure that the monthly payments are affordable to the selected veteran. The organization intends to make the first mortgage an interest free loan. However, interest may be charged if required by government programs in which the organization may elect to participate. The organization intends to forgive the mortgage ratably over a fifteen-year period. If the veteran sells the house prior to expiration of the fifteen-year period, he/she is entitled to a share of the sales proceeds and the outstanding mortgage is paid to the organization. The organization also expects to impose a second mortgage on the house, which will be equal to the difference between the fair market value of the house and construction costs. This second mortgage will be forgiven by the organization ratably over the lifetime of the first mortgage: Accordingly, the intention is to provide housing to veterans at less than fair market value, but not to provide a windfall profit to the veteran from an early sale of the residence. With voluntary labor and in-kind donations of materials the estimated cost to build a 1500 square foot house with an attached garage is approximately $150,000. Many building professionals have already volunteered their services and students from BOCES will receive hands on training.

Who Is Homes For Our Homecoming Heroes, Inc.

Larry Sklar

is a founding director of Habitat for Humanity Nassau County and has served as their construction superintendent. Prior to his retirement ten years ago, he ran a construction and demolition company in Queens, New York. He is a member of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and is active with a variety of local veteran groups.

Mike Hirsch

is a licensed master electrician. He has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and has electrified many houses from the ground up. He also volunteers services free of charge to any veteran who cannot afford to pay.

Linda Carco

is a member of the Salvation Army Homeless Veterans Shelter Advisory Committee. She volunteers on the Painting and Refurbishing of Housing for Rebuilders Together, an organization which volunteers to do work for seniors who cannot afford repairs on their homes.

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt