Seventy-eight military families in Santa Clarita will live in the community post-construction
Source: Press release
Nearly 50 Mercury Insurance employees, friends and family members volunteered their time and sweat equity on Sat., Sept. 30 to help Homes4Families, formerly known as Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys, complete a neighborhood for veterans in Santa Clarita. This is the sixth build in the 78-home all-veteran community in which Mercury has participated during 2017.
“The best part of our three-year partnership with Habitat for Humanity is it gave us the opportunity to have employees build homes and hear first-hand from veterans about their experiences – it just drives the message home. The impact they have on us is greater than the impact we have on them,” said Liz Romero, Mercury’s senior employee relations specialist. “Volunteering for the Santa Clarita neighborhood has taught me how beautiful people are when they work together for a common good. We can accomplish so much together.”
More than 100 volunteers from Mercury contributed to projects for the Veteran Enriched Neighborhood® over the course of the past year, including building fencing, painting, landscaping, pipe installation and carpentry.
Marlon Tolentino, an honorably discharged Army Infantry Drill Instructor who served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said, “Prior to this experience, we had planned to buy a home within the next five to ten years. This made it possible sooner. I’m looking forward to creating memories with my family in our new home. I was deployed for many years of my children’s lives defending our country and now I have a stable place to watch them grow up.”
The veteran community is located in Santa Clarita across from the Child & Family Center (21545 Centre Point Parkway). The homes come in two styles:
A 1,450 sq. ft. one-story model with three bedrooms and two bathrooms; and
A 1,650 sq. ft. two-story model with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
All homes include two-car garages, washer and dryer hookups, tankless water heaters and solar panels. The homes in the Santa Clarita neighborhood are also prepared for veterans with PTSD, complete with LED lighting and color schemes to minimize triggers for PTSD.
“I have PTSD and this home is designed to minimize the things that might trigger it. The environment is serene and welcoming and peaceful, which is exactly what we need after being in a warzone. It’s very therapeutic,” said Army Sgt. Karen Burbank, who served in Iraq. “Without this program [Homes4Families], I wouldn’t be able to afford a home. It’s literally life-changing.”
The community also features:
An urban community garden;
A Disney park for children, with slides that are built into the hillsides;
A fruit tree grove;
A sports court; and
A green area with drought-resistant grass.
Ted Stalick, Mercury’s CFO, is excited that the company has played a role in building the veteran community. “I’m impressed by the effort Mercury employees exerted for this build. It’s been great to see everyone come together and work hard,” he said. “Mercury has supported the military for a long time. These homes will really benefit veterans who come back from serving our country to transition back into everyday life.”
“The veteran community sacrifice is huge. The financial support of companies like Mercury Insurance allows these builds to take place and the muscle and heart its employee volunteers donate make these Veteran Enriched Neighborhoods possible,” said Donielle DeLeon, Director of Corporate and Community Engagement, Homes4Families. “We‘re grateful they’ve been such a dedicated partner, helping us to complete this neighborhood of affordable housing for our well-deserving veterans.”
Other projects Mercury Insurance employees participated in with Habitat for Humanity include working on eight homes in La Habra and four in Inglewood, Calif.; setting up a Habitat ReStore in Austin, Texas; and helping rebuild a veteran’s flood-damaged home in Oklahoma.