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Veteran Sees the Light After Series of Setbacks

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

After experiencing several life changing setbacks, a local veteran is now enjoying the benefits of homeownership through Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties’ Veterans Build Initiative.

Anthony (Tony) House and his wife Abby recently closed on their new 3 bedroom, 1 bath home in Palmyra – on the site of the former Tri-Boro Veterans building, which served veterans from Palmyra, Riverton and Cinnaminson. Palmyra Borough donated land for the homes.

Tony was a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and was trained as a combat medic. He retired from the service just prior to the Gulf Wars. After retiring from the military, Tony switched gears and enjoyed a successful career in the mortgage industry for 25 years. However, he became a victim of the 2008 financial crisis, creating a financial circumstance from which he could not recover.

Financially, Tony hit rock bottom and experienced foreclosure.

For several years, Tony and Abby scaled back and lived paycheck to paycheck, and moved into a small apartment in Marlton. Soon after, Tony suffered another setback – he was rear ended in a car accident.

“The next two years were a whirlwind,” says Tony. During the course of testing for neck and back pain – where Tony received epidurals and PT for several months –  he had yet another setback.  Tony was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, the surgery was successful and he was on the road to recovery. During this time he started volunteering with TOUCH New Jersey, a nonprofit food distribution alliance in the City of Camden.

This is where Tony’s fate changed. Through his volunteerism, Tony met representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties and learned that he qualified for housing through Habitat’s Veterans Build program.

“It was a very challenging and stressful time for 10 years and I never thought I would get back on my feet let alone own a home again,” says Tony. “Habitat was fantastic and worked diligently to help us through the process – it only took 7 months from completing the application to moving into our new home.”

Through Habitat’s Veterans program, the Houses are utilizing an income based, zero-interest 30-year mortgage and are committed to providing 400 hours of sweat equity – many of Tony’s volunteer hours at TOUCH New Jersey were applied to the hours. He and Abby are participating in 9 weeks of financial literacy courses to help ensure their success as homeowners.

“Veterans like Tony have made an immense contribution to our nation and we’re so pleased to help them secure affordable housing through our Veterans Build program,” said Lori Leonard, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Burlington and Mercer Counties.

 

 

It is such a weight off our shoulders to be homeowners again. Habitat did a great job all around. It’s a partnership and understanding there’s a financial responsibility and a sustainable and affordable lifestyle is part of that. This opportunity will really allow us to step up.”