Volunteers Help Build Homes for Low-income Veterans
By Susan Cox
Neither thieves nor triple-digit temperatures could deter Southern California Edison employees and volunteers from their mission to help house veterans.
On a recent Saturday morning, volunteers from SCE’s Valor employee resource group for veterans, along with friends and vets representing various branches of the military, helped construct a perimeter wall for a Veterans Enriched Neighborhood build in Palmdale for Homes4Families. The nonprofit helps build resiliency, economic growth, neighborhoods and homes for low-income veterans.
“Southern California Edison believes it’s important for employees to serve the communities we work in and live in,” said Derrick Henry, president of Valor. “We’re out here helping Homes4Families because we understand veterans need support and our organization is 100% committed to continuing our service. That’s our motto, our tagline, our service continues.”
Not only are veterans given the opportunity to purchase a house, Homes4Families also provides them with all the wraparound services they need to succeed in their homes. When completed in 2023, the site at Division Street and Avenue R will be a 56-home community for low-income veterans.
It’s Valor’s second consecutive year working with Homes4Families. Supporting the nonprofit could not have come at a better time.
In May, more than $25,000 in donated building materials and supplies were stolen when thieves broke into the construction site. Thanks to the generosity of others, donations and in-kind materials allowed materials lost to be replaced and Homes4Families to continue its important work.
“This is the Edison Valor program’s second build with us,” said Donielle De Leon, director of Corporate and Community Engagement for Homes4Families. “They’ve built one other time in Santa Clarita where they did some framing and fence work. We’re super excited to have them out here.”
Valor presented a $5,000 grant to Homes4Families on behalf of Edison International, parent company of SCE, to support its community outreach efforts.
Palmdale resident Juan Bran is a disabled combat veteran, volunteer and future homeowner, thanks to Homes4Families. He said California’s high housing prices make it impossible for him to buy a home for his family.
“This community means everything to us,” said Bran, who served as an Army paratrooper in Afghanistan in 2003. He is volunteering at the build to earn his equity hours, a requirement to be a homeowner through Homes4Families. “It means a stable place for our kids and a community where I can probably socialize better with other veterans.
“This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the help of Homes4Families, team Edison and all the volunteers that are here. It’s a dream come true for my family and other veteran families.”