By Drew Knight
The dream of homeownership is one that New Home Source supports 100 percent.
But, we know that there are many folks out there who have not seen that dream come true due to many circumstances. Take veterans, many who struggle with physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that make the path to homeownership difficult.
Just in time for Memorial Day, New Home Source is highlighting those who are helping deserving veterans with transitional housing through Wound Warrior Homes (WWH).
About Wounded Warrior Homes
Founded in 2009 by real estate investors Steve and Mia Roseberry, Wounded Warrior Homes began as an idea the pair created when they were looking to serve the community in a bigger way. To do so, they contacted Camp Pendleton’s Wounded Warrior Battalion, who in turn said there was a need for long-term transitional housing for single service members with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and PTSD. Thus, Wounded Warrior Homes was born.
The Roseberrys helped band together a board of directors of active, former and retired military and business leaders to get program operations moving by September 2012. Since this time, WWH has successfully transitioned 17 veterans, some of which were living in shelters, couch surfing or living in their vehicles on the street, says Gene Jennett, executive assistant at WWH in Vista, Calif.
According to Jennett, these veterans are chosen for transitional housing after WWH compares submitted online contact forms to the organization’s basic criteria: the veteran must be male, single or living as single, local or seeking housing locally and they must have a history of TBI and/or PTSD. If the criteria is met, then the veteran is sent an application form.
“Our philosophy is to never say ‘we don’t do that; we can’t help you’ to any veteran,’ ” Jennett says. “So for those not matching our program or who are seeking other kinds of services, our staff researches resources in the veteran’s area to connect them with other organizations that can provide the services they need.”
Making a Difference for a Wounded Warrior
Having served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert Caudill was medically discharged in 2012 in San Diego with no home to go to.
“After four deployments to Iraq and a short mission to Afghanistan during a four-and-a-half-year window, I broke down and was sent to the Wounded Warrior Battalion,” Caudill recalls. “I thought I was worthless and useless as a Marine, leading to depression.
“My first six weeks out, I had a plan and saved $3,000 up and then my anxiety and post-traumatic stress spiraled out of control and I ran out of options,” Caudill says. “During that time, my service dog, Bravo, and I rented hotel rooms for the night.”
Caudill became the very first veteran to be housed by Wounded Warrior Homes. He was on the verge of checking into a homeless shelter when he got a call from Mia Roseberry telling him the first WWH apartment was available, he says.
Four and a half months passed by after he moved into the WWH apartment, he and Bravo were able to move out on their own.
“[WWH] had a huge impact on my life,” Caudill says. “All I needed was a place to rest my head for the night and have someone look over me while I figured things out.”
He has since spent the last few years living only a mile from the beach in Oceanside, Calif., in a two-bedroom home with a yard for Bravo. He is currently working on his bachelor of arts in psychology with plans to teach and perform sound healing sessions with different groups as a way to overcome post-traumatic stress without pharmaceutical medication. He is also serving in leadership positions in Toastmasters International and as a spokesman for WWH to share his experiences with others to help them find hope.
How You Can Help
If you’re looking to help out with Wounded Warrior Homes’ mission, Jennett says volunteers can come out to work on the property or help with fundraising events or administrative tasks in the office.
“Ultimately, to see our guys brighten and flourish with the support we are able to provide because of the generosity of others is an amazing, humbling experience,” says Jennett.
The organization does not receive any government funding and relies on grassroots support of individuals and business. If you’d like to donate to the organization, visit www.classy.org/Homes4OurHeroes.
Drew Knight is a Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.