SHELTER FROM THE COLD—Homeless individuals sleeping on steps and doorway of a Downtown store after it closed. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

SHELTER FROM THE COLD—Homeless individuals sleeping on steps and doorway of a Downtown store after it closed. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Against the background of rumbling Humvees and Jeeps, and hundreds of members of all four U.S. Military branches preparing to march down Liberty Avenue in the Veteran’s Day parade, representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh, the City of Pittsburgh and its Urban Redevelopment Authority unveiled a new initiative to help homeless veterans become homeowners.

Following a rendition of America by Rev. Michael Frazier, pastor of Morningstar Ministries, Mayor Bill Peduto said this program can help repay the debt owed to those who have served.

“This is an historic agreement, and we owe it to or veterans to offer this program and this program doesn’t happen without Habitat for Humanity,” he said.

Justin Ackerman, treasurer of HFHGP, said initiatives like this are why the organization exists.

“I have never been as proud to represent Habitat for Humanity as I am today,” he said. “We are offering these heroes homes that will be theirs for years to come.”

Howard Slaughter, HFHGP president and CEO, and a veteran himself, said the cooperative agreement would allow them to provide quality, affordable, safe housing for veterans.

“Today, working with the city and the URA we are making something happen that has never happened before—offering zero-percent mortgages, with no mortgage insurance to veterans who want to be homeowners,” he said.

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