Dearborn home being transformed for veteran

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The interior of a Vassar Street house was demolished by volunteers to begin the transformation of the home which will be given to a veteran.

Bank of America’s charitable foundation bought the house and donated the house to the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals. Working together, both organizations will renovate the house before selecting a veteran to live in it mortgage-free.

“We’ve been partners with Bank of America since 2014 and they are always looking for houses in different areas,” VAREP Housing Director Richard Mercado said. “About 90 days ago Bank of America reached out and donated the house to us.”

Volunteers from Bank of America and VAREP’s Mid-Michigan Chapter started the work last week, and a contractor has been selected to transform the house into a three-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow.

“We have general contractors nationwide and pick a contractor from two bids,” Mercado said. “The contractor says the house can be ready and livable in 90 days.”

Mercado said the kitchen cabinets were removed, the bathroom will be remodeled, bedroom carpets changed, flooring replaced, exterior painted, kitchen appliances replaced, along with a new washer and dryer.

As for who will live in the house, a veteran will be selected by VAREP after the application process is completed. To apply for the house, veterans can email Mercado with documents proving they served and three months of bank statements.

Also, veterans who are working should send two months of pay stubs and disabled veterans should send their disability letter.
Mercado will email veterans interested a housing application. The deadline for applications is tentatively Oct. 31.

After all the applications are collected and sorted, Mercado will interview veterans, present the information to the VAREP board and then the VAREP board will interview final candidates.

The veteran selected by VAREP will have to participate in the organization’s three-year financial and homeownership mentoring and counseling program.
For more information on the house or to apply email Mercado at rMercado@varep.net.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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