memorial-dayNAR’s realtor.com reported on May 25th that despite our gratitude for the almost 25 million U.S. veterans for their service, America has not done a stellar job of making sure they’re properly housed. http://www.realtor.com/news/memorial-day-housing-news/ .

According to the advocacy group Veterans Inc., more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters each night, and nearly 33% of homeless men in this country are veterans.

So, here is some good news: New developments around the country are being designed for veterans or adding veteran-friendly homes to the area. More builders and companies are offering housing assistance for vets, too. For Memorial Day, realtor.com rounded up the best of the good news.

  • The Los Angeles Times reports on Blue Butterfly Village, a project that will house 73 veterans and their families. It’s “one of the first housing projects in the country that focuses on female veterans facing homelessness.”
  • Late last week, the mayor of Madison TN, laid the last beam at Patriot Place, a 34-unit apartment complex aimed at vets, reports the Tennessean.
  • In mid-June, Veterans Manor will open in Green Bay, WI, according to the local ABC station. It will have 50 one-bedroom apartments as well as a community center and fitness room.
  • Officials broke ground at the Arizona Fisher House late last week. The facility “will provide free temporary housing to families of eligible veterans and military service members who are being treated at the Tucson VA or any other medical facility in Tucson,” according to Commercial Property Executive.
  • The Marmion Apartments in the L.A. neighborhood of Cypress Park, will house 24 homeless veterans and 24 low-income families. The project broke ground on May 14. According to EGP News, there are almost 3,000 homeless vets in L.A.

Here on the Peninsula, we are rich in military history and we have one of the largest populations of veterans in the country. A veterans-housing development or adding a veterans housing component to a development makes sense.

The question is how we do it.

And this is where you as a VPAR could be part of the solution. Do you know a builder who might be willing to work toward a veterans housing community? Do you know a lender who would be willing to be part of the team?

If you and other VPAR members can form and be part of the project team, VPAR can assist by working with local governments in the region and with the Commonwealth to make sure that the public policy components are in place, or can be put into place. We can work create public awareness and build media interest in the project, too.

Let’s put our capable resources and our strong member connections to work to bring additional veterans housing to the Peninsula.

We owe our veterans so much. Our vast local housing community can repay a small part of the debt that we owe them by thinking big when it comes to erasing veterans homelessness and providing housing opportunities for our service men and women. As one special soldier was fond of saying, “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” let us help them find their homes.

Susan S. Gaston
The Gaston Group, LLC
A Virginia-Based Government Relations and Public Affairs Firm

Support the 2016 VAR Legislative Agenda

REALTORS® Please Take Action Today and Ask Your State Representatives to Support the VAR Legislative Agenda!

On Wednesday, January 13th, all 140 members of the General Assembly convened in Richmond to begin the annual legislative session.  As the business advocate for real estate professionals, the Virginia Association of REALTORS® has introduced a cohesive legislative package to promote homeownership and protect REALTORS® just like you!

ACT NOW to help homeownership thrive in Virginia, take action by clicking the link below and emailing your legislator to support the VAR Legislative Agenda!

Email your legislators and ask them to SUPPORT the VAR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA!

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Stop Patent Trolls

cfaMobileHeaderTell your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 9, the Innovation Act to stop patent trolls and protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits.  

REALTORS® across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits.

H.R. 9 is scheduled for House floor consideration later this summer. Congress must pass this common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect Main Street businesses and REALTORS® from patent troll abuse.

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NAR Call For Action to support H.R. 9, The Innovation Act

NAR Call For Action

In the next couple of weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 9 – The Innovation Act of 2015, which will take vital steps to protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits brought by patent trolls. The National Association of Realtors is supporting H.R. 9.

REALTORS® are targeted by patent trolls at alarming rates for simply using common business technologies like drop down menus and search functions on websites or scan-to-email technologies found in every office scanner. Patent trolls exist solely to purchase old patents and to use the threat of expensive lawsuits to extort money from legitimate businesses. Congress must pass common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect Main Street businesses and REALTORS® from patent troll abuse.

Contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support H.R. 9, The Innovation Act

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