The number of homeless veterans is staggering. There are an estimated 62,000 vets with no place to call home in America. Down on the National Mall this week, Habitat for Humanity, International is launching a new initiative to help them, called Veterans Build. The organization is building frames for seven houses for vets to go to Habitat affiliates in the DC metro area, Susquehanna (north of Baltimore) and Patuxent (on the Eastern shore).
About half of the homeless vets fought in Vietnam, but many have returned recently from Afghanistan and Iraq, including women with children. Veterans Build has invited homeless vets to help build on the mall. Those who get the houses will have mortgages, though Habitat for Humanity subsidizes the cost of the house, so the mortgage is affordable to the family.
Christopher Ptomey, Director of Federal Relations at Habitat, says the initiative is aimed at showing those vets, who may have difficulty making the transition back into civilian life, that the nation wants to pay its debt of gratitude for their service.