Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on first women-only veterans’ community

Kaylah Jackson
April 17, 2019 - 2:08 pm
Habitat for Humanity in Florida

(Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity, Brevard County)

Karla Griggs, an Army veteran, spent much of her time after the military couch surfing but soon, she’ll be able to live comfortably in a home alongside other women veterans—one that she had a part in building herself.

Griggs’ soon-to-be new home will be one of six, part of a new community created specifically for women veterans in Brevard County, Florida. This village, the first of its kind, will be built through Habitat for Humanity, an organization that creates affordable housing for those in need. 

“It’s really an honor to be the first female vet to qualify for this program,” said Griggs.

As part of the qualifications for Habitat for Humanity, residents must partake in “sweat equity,” where they help build the community of homes. Griggs will continue to not only work on her own but other homes within the women veterans’ development.

“As they [women veterans] come through the process I can help them… we don’t just build houses, we build communities,” said Griggs.

Brevard County, Florida is home to thousands of veterans. In fact, 15 percent of the town’s population are veterans. But M.E. Kelly, executive director of the local Habitat for Humanity, says, “There’s not that many places here in Brevard County for female veterans to go.”

About 5,000 veterans in the area are considered low-income and 2,000 veterans are disabled according to Jane Higgins, funding specialist for Habitat for Humanity.

While this is the first groundbreaking of its kind for military women, the organization at-large has built other communities for veterans. 

Last year, Veterans Place, located in metropolitan Atlanta, became the first all-veteran neighborhood for the 43-year-old organization.

Habitat for Humanity
(Photo courtesy of Brevard County Habitat for Humanity)

For Kelly, a veteran herself, this project has a special place in her heart.

“Every veteran I have ever met does not want anything for free,” said Kelly. “I want to see some of these women get out on their own and have a shot at making a better life for themselves.”

On May 6, the wall raising and building for Griggs new two-bedroom home will begin. In the meantime, the Brevard County Habitat for Humanity is still looking for more qualified women veterans to live in the community. And thanks to generous grants in the area, the organization is also looking to repair damaged veterans' home in the local area.

If you are a women veteran in Brevard County, Florida or know one, you can apply for a home by calling the Community Housing Initiative (CHI) at (321) 253-0053. For more information, visit the Habitat for Humanity website.

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