(Lori Piotrowski) – Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. in Kansas City, Missouri. This 80,000-square-foot monument to the Great War is a tribute to the thousands of servicemen who gave their lives as well as the individuals who sacrificed at home and abroad from 1914 – 1919. Even the entryway, a transparent floor covering 9,000 poppies, each representing one thousand combatant deaths, is a tribute.
This Memorial Day, we remembered veterans from more recent wars, and a new organization in Las Vegas is striving to provide the public with more than just a memory. They are working to give us the opportunity to provide homes for active military men and women, veterans, and their families.
“This banking and mortgage crisis has given us the foothold to do something unique,” explained Michael Mirolla, chief executive officer of Residence for Patriots Foundation (RFPF). “We have the opportunity to honor our active military men and women and veterans by providing lower-cost housing, but we’re also salvaging neighborhoods by reclaiming empty houses and rebuilding the area.”
The premise behind the Residence for Patriots Foundation is relatively simple: Give back to those who protect the United States. To make this effort work, soliders and or veterans register online for a home; a national lender contacts them and underwrites them for VA loan; Residence for Patriots Foundation purchases pools of REO properties from lenders and GSEs (FNMA, HUD, etc.) at a deep discount. The houses are refurbished and then offered at discounted rates to active military personnel, veterans, reservists, and surviving spouses.
Candidates for housing fill out an online application, must present their DD214 (for veterans) or statement of service from a commanding officer (for active duty) and their credit must meet current VA lending standards.
In addition, Mirolla said that for those applicants who are not approved, RFPF will purchase a home regardless of their credit as long as they have income to support the home expenses. As part of the deal, a credit counseling service will be mandatory to participate in the rent-to-own program.
Finally, RFPF will purchase mortgage notes at a discount from lenders for borrowers, military personnel, who are in default. RFPF will renegotiate the mortgage note with the borrower, dropping the principal to market price or below. The result being the borrowers stay in their homes.
Mirolla stated, “This effort will encompass both the private sector and public sector”.
Residence for Patriots is a nation-wide effort: “The housing crisis has happened throughout the country, and our veterans live in all parts of the U.S. This effort is huge, and it will have a tremendous impact,” he added.
Individuals as well as large corporations, such as Bank of America, Citibank, FDIC, GMAC, Next Detroit and others, preparing to become involved. “We have the backing of a major banking institution to assist with the initial offering of houses,” Mirolla said. Individuals may donate funds, houses, or their expertise in helping to rehabilitate the housing. Preparing the house for its new occupiers can include painting, new appliances, or making it handicapped accessible.
Residence for Patriots Foundation is working with its sister company Residence for Patriots Services Foundation that is a 501(c)(3) and provides for mental health rehabilitation as well.