Champion for homeless veterans wins bid to buy house - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Champion for homeless veterans wins bid to buy house

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Jaspen Boothe Jaspen Boothe

There were some tense moments outside the courthouse in Alexandria Tuesday where a house for homeless female veterans was up for auction.

The property was in foreclosure and the non-profit group, Final Salute, was trying to save it.

Lose the bidding and the vets would likely be displaced.

The outcome was far from certain when Jaspen Boothe began the bidding just after noon. The founder of Final Salute had put down a hefty deposit and hoped against hope she could outbid anyone for the home now housing a handful of vets and their children.

As the price began to rise, Boothe began to worry -- could she afford to do this?

Throwing caution to the wind, the Army veteran kept adding thousands to the price until she finally prevailed.

She agreed to pay more than $450,000 for a property her non-profit has been renting.

"I don't know where I was going to stop, but I just had to keep fighting because no one else is fighting for these women, and I came here to do that. And I didn't know how high I was going to go, but I was damn sure going to try," said Boothe in an interview Tuesday.

Boothe had no idea what to expect and when another bidder kept raising the price, she decided to tell him who she was.

"I just respectfully said, ‘Sir, I don't know who you are, but I am here to keep homeless woman veterans in their home. I am not here representing a company. I am not trying to turn a profit. I am just trying to help them’ and he continuously bid against me,” she said.

Boothe, who was once a homeless veteran herself, began Final Salute so woman who served their country would not have to live on the streets.

She found herself in this position when the non-profit they were renting from, Robert Pierre Johnson Housing Development Corporation, stopped making payments on the house.

Boothe and her group only discovered last month the house was in foreclosure even though the rent checks were still being cashed.

"I have not heard from RPJ's leadership. They never notified us,” said Boothe. “We were notified when someone said, ‘Hey, did you know your house was up for public auction?’”

So now, Boothe and Final Salute will have to come up with the money to buy the house.

It is a large sum they must secure in the next 30 days.

"I'm hoping the American people will answer the call, go online and donate,” said Boothe. “Maybe some celebrities will get involved, but it's certainly more than we can do on our own.”

Boothe is a champion for these women, believing no one who serves their country should be living on the streets alone.

FOX 5 tried to reach RPJ Housing on Tuesday, but the phone number listed on its website is disconnected. We also tried to reach an attorney representing the non-profit, but at this time, she has not returned our call.


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