Mortgage-free homes to be built for veterans in need

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Local realtors in Orange County are paying it forward to those who have served our country.

“There are a lot of veterans that were just overlooked,” said Steve Chitwood with the Florida Real Estate Foundation. “Because of injury or whatever, they couldn’t get a job to be able to afford a house, we knew that was a lot of need for it.”

The foundation and the Orlando Regional Realtor Association has partnered with several organizations who are donating materials to build six mortgage-free homes for veterans in need.

“We’re trying to provide houses free of cost to that veteran.  Because of their disability, they’re not only able to obtain a job that pays enough to pay for housing.”

Veterans who need a home must meet certain requirements, but the home would be open to the veteran and his or her family.

“[The] veteran has to be certified by the Veteran’s Administration as having a handicap,” said Chitwood. “In fact, the first one that was selected is a husband and wife with four children.”

One of the partners in this project is the City of Orlando, which donated the land, located at the corner of West Jefferson Street and Benson Avenue in Parramore.

“All of these homes, designed by AIA, are designed with energy saving features. They all have extra insulation, double insulated windows,” Chitwood added.  “They’re all designed from scratch to be that way, designed with extra-wide doorways in case someone is in a wheelchair, and we can modify the kitchens and the bathrooms and lower the counters if necessary.”

The small community will be appropriately named Heroes Commons at Jefferson Park, and the Florida Real Estate Foundation hopes this is the first of several villages they build across Central Florida.

“Because of what the veterans have done for the country, we feel that it’s important for us to do our part as realtors and as the Foundation, to help them get a home.”

The groundbreaking will happen on Wednesday on Polk Street, just west of Interstate 4.

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