November 11, 2012 [Kevin Niedermier, WKSU]
In a few months a disabled Cleveland-area Army veteran will become a homeowner, a goal he was finding harder and harder to reach. During a Veteran’s Day celebration in South Euclid today, a group that helps disabled veterans afford homes gave Demond Taylor the assistance he needed.
emond Taylor returned from Iraq in 2005 suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, just like more than 200,000 other U.S. military veterans. Because of the depression, memory loss and nightmares, he’s had trouble finding a permanent home for himself, his wife and his three kids. But the organization, Purple Hearts Homes, is helping him become a homeowner. The organization bought a foreclosed South Euclid house from the Cuyahoga County Land Bank for one-dollar. Purple Hearts will raise about $70,000 and use volunteers renovate it. Outside the white, 2 story bungalow on a residential street, neighbors, city officials and Purple Heart’s co-founder gathered for a Veteran’s Day celebration, where Taylor was the guest of honor.
“When you look up and down this street you can see how neat these people are, look how many have shown up at this event. These people are just like the big hearted organizations and the City of South Euclid and the land bank that put this all together. I believe we were meant to have homes and belong to a community, and that’s what I have the opportunity to do now. I’m really excited and emotional about the whole thing.”
South Euclid is working to bring veterans into the city
Taylor, who works for Cleveland’s Veteran’s Administration Hospital, says the house will give him the feeling of privacy and security he doesn’t have living in an apartment complex. The City of South Euclid recruited Purple Heart Homes to help attract veterans to the community. Ed Gallagher worked with the city’s government on the project.
“The way it works is, the city and Purple Hearts Homes renovate the home, have it reappraised. Once the new value is determined, Taylor will get a loan for 50 percent of that value.”
Purple Heart Homes was co-founded four years ago by wounded Iraq veteran John Gallina, who saw that many disabled veterans across the country like Taylor struggled to afford homes of their own.
“We’ve taken care of all the legal paperwork to make this a Purple Hearts home so we can renovate it and provide it to Taylor and his family. We’re currently working on 20, and we have 250 applications outstanding with 50 now approved. We’re starting to develop supplies and support to bring those to fruition. In 4 years we’ve raised over $1.8 million.”
Purple Heart is working on another home in South Euclid, and has completed one in Akron.