Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity to bring resources to veterans

Program to provide home ownership resources, repairs

Photo of Catherine Sweeney

MECOSTA COUNTY — The Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity is aiming to be a "one-stop shop" for veterans in need of housing.

Through Habitat for Humanity's Veteran Assistance Program, the organization assists veterans with critical home repairs and home ownership issues.

"Veterans are always the people who help other people," said Lisa Barnum, community outreach director for the organization. "It's all encompassing of how we want to treat veterans as a priority."

The program is for veterans in all branches of the military, as well as their family members.

Executive Coordinator Barb Seabolt said it seeks to help veterans in need of critical home repairs, including plumbing, roofing, insulation and more.

"We consider it a hand up, not a hand out," she said.

To date, the program has assisted five veterans, from large scale remodel projects to the instillation of a wheelchair ramp.

However, as a "one-stop shop," Seabolt said the program also connects veterans with other financial and educational resources to assist them in finding programs they qualify for.

"There's a lot of qualifications for veterans in certain programs. … I think veterans sometimes get turned down because they don't meet certain qualifications, and then they don't think they qualify for anything," she said.

Seabolt added issues with housing and home ownership are major problems for veterans throughout Mecosta County.

"There's just a lot of components that go into the housing issues in Mecosta County, but with veterans especially, we want to make sure they hear us and we also want friends and loved ones of veterans to know that we are reaching out to them for that love and support," she said.

One major issue, she said, is being able to connect with veterans in need of support.

"Veterans are proud and resourceful and independent, so we've been trying to figure out ways that we can lower the barriers to start that conversation, so we can offer them what we learned, whether its one of our programs or get them in touch with someone else who can help them," Seabolt said.

Veterans may apply for the program at Veterans, as well as those who would like to recommend a veteran for the program, also may call or text Barnum at 231-598-2092.