It was all tears and cheers as Nikita Wilson, 33, was handed the keys to her brand new, fully-furnished home in the small neighborhood of Pine Hills in Orlando.
On Tuesday, the staff sergeant became the latest beneficiary of a housing partnership between Bank of America and the Central Florida chapter of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals.
When Wilson transitioned into civilian life after serving in the army for ten years, she found herself living in homeless shelters after getting evicted from her apartment.
Sadly, her experience with homelessness is not out of the ordinary.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 20% of the homeless population in the United States are veterans.
Though the Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced plans to award $400 million to service members at risk for homelessness, fixing this issue will take a multifaceted approach.
To that end, for the past seven years, Bank of America has partnered with several local nonprofits across the country in order to provide more than 2,400 homes to former service members in need.
These mortgage-free homes are awarded to select veterans after they go through a rigorous evaluation process and background checks.
Thanks to this program, Wilson, who works with veterans at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, is looking forward to settling in and putting down roots in her new community.
“It’s amazing and I really love it,” Wilson told the Orlando Sentinel. “This is something that I won’t ever have to think about again: No notices on the door. No questions about ‘am I going to be able to pay this month?’ I won’t have to be concerned about those types of things. I can now just be free to help people like I want.”
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This story has been written and syndicated across GateHouse Media Group’s 22 Florida markets.
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