Published Thursday, October 11, 2012

Muster groups supporting Habitat housing project for veterans

By ALEX MCRAE

alex@newnan.com

As part of this year’s Coweta County Veterans Muster III activities, local veterans organizations are making a generous contribution to Coweta Habitat for Humanity to assist a special Habitat program that gives veterans priority in revitalizing or upgrading existing homes.

The Habitat program is called HANDS-Up (Housing and Neighborhood Development Strategies).

Commanders of Marine Corps League Detachment 1325, American Legion Post 57 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667 combined are providing $2,500 in financial assistance to assist Habitat.

They will present their checks to Leslie Merriman, director of the Coweta Habitat at the Veterans Muster Saturday at the Coweta County Fairgrounds. The veterans organizations will be providing volunteer assistance as well.

Local veteran Hank Berkowitz, who represents the Marine Corps League in this effort, said, “If you think about the older population of WWII and Korean veterans who might have deteriorating housing conditions, and we have the opportunity to improve their quality of life in their declining years, this is a perfect opportunity to provide some assistance.”

Berkowitz said veterans who need such assistance should contact Coweta Habitat for Humanity. He also issed a call for the public to support the effort financially. The need for assistance is expected to increase as more aging veterans in need of assistance are identified.

According to information provided to The Newnan Times-Herald, HANDS-Up is a new initiative of Newnan-Coweta Habitat for Humanity designed to help revitalize the appearance of the neighborhood, strengthen connections within the communities and preserve Coweta County’s existing housing stock. HANDS-Up not only enhances the look of the home, it addresses repairs that will alleviate critical health, life and safety issues or code violations for homeowners in need.

The program addresses repairs which fall into the following three categories:

• A Brush with Kindness – designed to address exterior home preservation/beautification issues.

• Weatherization – designed to address interior and exterior repairs that reduce energy consumption.

• Critical Home Repairs – designed to address interior and exterior issues which may affect the health and safety of the occupants.

Habitat officials said that while all low-income homeowners who live in one of the three targeted areas — Beverly Park, Domineck Street or Corn Crib — can apply, veterans will be given priority over all other applicants.

Unlike other applicants, veterans do not need to own the home. It must, however, have been their primary place of residence for the past year, and the homeowner will have to apply and be approved by Habitat.

Officials said the goal for the next year is to open the program to all Coweta County veterans.

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