R.E.A.C.H. – or Real Estate Education and Community Housing – works with low-income families in Southeast Florida to become homeowners. R.E.A.C.H. provides homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention counseling, and acquires and renovates homes. Florida Community Loan Fund, a statewide source of flexible financing for low-income communities, has provided financing to R.E.A.C.H. to support their home purchase and renovation programs.

R.E.A.C.H. met a 100% disabled veteran through a partner referral. This 68-year-old serviceman had never owned a home, and he hoped to live in an area of Lake Worth where his friends live and where he could walk to nearby restaurants and businesses. R.E.A.C.H. selected the property from the NCST – National Community Stabilization Trust – website for purchase with the loan program offered by Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) to help stabilize Florida communities.

At first look the 848 sq-ft home seemed to almost be a tear-down. The roof needed to be replaced, the floors were weak and falling in, there were no windows, and there was no remaining kitchen or bath. This wood frame home was on its last leg and on top of that had $100,000 due in municipal violations. Through the efforts of R.E.A.C.H.’s Executive Director Michael Roberts, the Mayor of Lake Worth waived $100,000 in violations upon learning of the work to be done for this veteran buyer.

R.E.A.C.H. asked the Veteran to drive by and make certain this could be his dream home. He was elated when R.E.A.C.H. purchased the dilapidated property with help from FCLF. He was introduced to the general contractor who gave him a choice in all home finishes. He was there every day to watch his home come together. In the end, he received a new roof, new impact windows where none existed and brand-new kitchen (with appliances of his choice) – a new home, top to bottom! As this is in a historical area much care had to be taken in permitting and approvals.

Now, due to the efforts and collaboration of many, this Army Veteran of the Vietnam War has joined that Historical Preservation Committee as a proud homeowner. FCLF assisted R.E.A.C.H. with funds for acquisition and for the costs of rehabilitation. The State of Florida waives property tax for 100% disabled veterans, so he has no real estate taxes to pay. With an income at 50% AMI, he lives alone in the home he helped rehabilitate.

In his own words –
“Take a qualified buyer, a foreclosed property, a construction team, city and State regulatory system. Now generate enough revenue to rehab a home with a current high-grade electrical and plumbing system, modern high-impact windows and a high-quality roof in a middle-class neighborhood. Deliver to the end buyer, satisfy cash flow to maintain a foundation doing good things for our veterans and community; and the very important end result, I have a new home with equity. Thank you R.E.A.C.H.”