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First Homes for Veterans Recipient Presented Keys to New Home

Homer Reyna, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, has become the first recipient of a home in Brownsville, Texas, as part of the new “Homes for Veterans” program, an innovative national program that provides housing for military veterans. Reyna; his wife, Paulene; and their daughter, Ella, have been presented with the keys to their new home as part of the Tribute to Valor weekend presented by Cendera Funding.

Three national organizations have come together to help turn foreclosed properties into affordable, sustainable homes for military veterans. HLP, Soldier On, and Citibank are working together to provide eligible veterans and their families with rehabilitated, single-family homes and providing the financial education needed to maintain successful, independent permanent housing.

“Getting our veterans into a home is just the first important step,” said Mark Cole, HLP’s CEO. “To ensure they sustain homeownership, HLP will continue work with the new homeowner to keep their financial plan on track, ensure mortgage payments are made on time, and offer ongoing support.”

Once a veteran is selected for the home, HLP will provide financial coaching to prepare the families for homeownership. The coaching involves developing a monthly budget, paying down debt, and building their credit score and savings.

“There is a compelling need for this collaboration because a sizeable number of veterans face daunting challenges to becoming homeowners due to financial, physical and emotional issues,” said Bruce Buckley, Soldier On’s CEO. “We are proud to announce that Mr. Reyna and his family are the first family of hopefully hundreds of Homes for Veterans all across the country.”

Following in the footsteps of several family members, Reyna enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Los Fresnos High School in Brownsville. After graduation from basic and advanced vehicle operator training, he served as a motor vehicle operator assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. For the next three years, Reyna served honorably and was promoted to the rank of corporal.

Corporal Reyna participated in hundreds of logistic supply patrols and conducted missions in support of Marine Aircraft Group 14 and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. His awards and decorations include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Expert Rifle Qualification Badge. Reyna earned his commercial driver’s license and now lives in Brownsville.

Citi is donating foreclosed homes for the program, which will be rehabilitated to a standard comparable to other properties in the neighborhood and to include any modifications or accommodations needed by the veteran family.

HLP will work with the veteran’s family for 36 months to help ensure their financial success. By providing an individual service plan with a timetable for achievement of pre-established goals, Reyna and his family will be financially prepared for homeownership. The financial education program will help the veteran make a successful transition to civilian life by supporting lifestyle adjustments, setting goals, and prioritizing choices. All this work is coordinated with Soldier On’s expertise to ensure veterans get access to all the programs and resources they need and deserve.

Many other organizations are joining in to help our military veteran families with this opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Current partners include Kathy Ireland and Tommy Meharey of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, SG Blocks, Star Flooring, YourHome1Source, and Lennox Heating and Cooling.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Editor-in-Chief at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has nearly 20 years' experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. He can be reached at [email protected].

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