As interest in joining the military plummets and US soldiers continue to be at a statistically higher risk of becoming homeless, great strides are being made to solve the crisis.
With the Housing First Initiative taking off and over 40,401 veterans placed in permanent housing, another nonprofit presents an innovative solution by renovating abandoned homes. Abandon home renovation is an insightful way to address the homeless crisis because it solves two issues at once – the homeless crisis and the environmental one.
Here’s an in-depth look at Ride With Valor, the organization that sees renovation as a possible solution to veteran homelessness.
Ride With Valor Aims to Replace Blight with Hope
“We take homes in the community that have been abandoned, and we completely remodel them and then furnish them for a previously homeless veteran,” explained the CEO of Ride With Valor, Scot Rhoda, in an interview.
The Ohio-based project leader recently took on a home in the Bedford Heights region that was scheduled for demolition and turned it into a turnkey property for formerly homeless veteran Don Ray Thompson, Jr., a doting father of twins, who served in the Navy, Army, and the Merchant Marines.
This is not just good news for Thompson and his toddlers. It is also a promising revelation for the hundreds of veterans enduring the horrors of homelessness in Ohio. If all goes well with this renovation project, there might be more to come.
This would mean introducing a novel way to save more veterans from homelessness and, on an even larger scale, save the planet from the environmentally damaging presence of blight.
Blighted Buildings Pose a Serious Threat to The Environment
Housing left in an uninhabitable, dilapidated state, also known as blight, is not just or hard on the eyes. It takes its toll on the planet as well.
Leaving these houses vacant creates environmental, economic, health, and structural damage detrimental to cities and the general public. Some of the many issues posed by unmanaged blight include:
- Industrial waste.
- Increased crime.
- Decreased property value.
- Increased risk for lead poisoning and other public safety issues.
- Problems with pests, particularly vermin
- Environmental destruction and more
Projects that turn the problem of blight into a solution for homelessness are both innovative and commendable. They deserve our support.
Ride With Valor Just Received A $1 Million Grant To Permanently House Homeless Veterans
The recently reconstructed home on Columbia Drive is reportedly the fourth house Ride With Valor has renovated and furnished to serve those who’ve served the country.
The organization recently received a $1 million grant to continue providing former US soldiers with homes they can be proud of. These homes have furniture, appliances, and even backyards.
Founded in 2019 by US Army veteran Scot Rhoda, the 501(c)(3) corporation is dedicated to addressing the housing needs of former soldiers. It is backed by several renowned businesses, including Home Depot and All Access Realty. It is funded by nonprofits and sustained by volunteers.
How It Works: The Four Programs Presented by Ride With Valor
The Ohio-based charity does not stop at merely housing homeless veterans or furnishing their new abodes. Four distinct programs and projects are operating under the organization, each with a goal related to helping veterans.
The program that handles most housing is titled Hearth & Home. It is their flagship program, and it is dedicated to keeping US military veterans housed. By purchasing dilapidated buildings, and fixing them up, Ride With Valor can provide veterans housing at a discounted rate.
After five years of paying rent, which may or may not be subsidized, these veterans are offered the opportunity to purchase the property they are staying in for half the market value. The program also features wraparound services that help with other issues related to veteran homelessness, such as:
- Credit Repair
- Finance management
- Physical and mental health services and more
Furnishing and other necessities are provided through Hearth & Home to create a safe, affordable, and permanent environment where veterans can thrive. Ride With Valor additionally sponsors three other programs, namely:
- Victory Garden, which is aimed at undercutting veteran food insecurity
- Aging in Place, which helps veterans handle the growing costs of aging, from skilled nursing services and home healthcare needs to medical equipment and medications
- Wings of Valor, which features transportation services for veterans, particularly those who are disabled and face obstacles on public transportation
Program organizers would like to highlight that these features are not handouts. Veterans are paying to participate in these programs but only paying what they can afford. The discounts are as much for them as they are for our country’s safety and our planet’s preservation. Please consider connecting with Ride With Valor on social media to view their projects and progress for yourself.
Talk to Your Representatives About Creating Environmentally Sustainable Solutions to Homelessness
Homelessness hurts. It hurts the planet just as much as its inhabitants. Projects that seek to rehab dilapidated houses and donate them to people in need for free or at discounted rates are environmentally cleaner than sweeps and other methods of homeless criminalization.
Ask your local representatives to support more projects that create environmentally sustainable solutions to homelessness.