PALMDALE -More than 360 volunteers came out on Saturday, May 11, to build homes for veterans in Palmdale.
The Women’s Empowerment (WE) Build is Homes 4 Families’ largest volunteering event, celebrating female veterans and women in nontraditional roles. This was the nonprofit organization’s 11th annual WE Build, and first ever in the Antelope Valley. Women and men helped build the Palmdale Veteran Enriched Neighborhood, which is a 56-home community for low-income veterans, located at Division Street and Avenue R.
Volunteers and sponsors raised over $75,000 and completed over $62,000 worth of construction work, totaling over $137,000. Work included building the property’s perimeter block wall, building a fence around what will become the children’s play area, and preparing art materials for Homes 4 Families’ My TIME (My Trauma-Informed Military Enrichment) workshops. These funds are critical in keeping these homes affordable for the low-income veterans who will soon own them.
The co-chairs of this event were Lily Knight, neonatal nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital and wife of former Congressman Steve Knight; and Rose Rockey, CFO of Progression Drywall Corp. and Homes 4 Families Board member. Also volunteering were Palmdale City Mayor Steve Hofbauer and his group of Handy Helpers, Palmdale City Councilmember Laura Bettencourt, Deputy District Director for Congresswoman Katie Hill Andrea Rosenthal and her team, and District Director for Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger Donna Termeer. Also in attendance were State Senator Scott Wilk, Assemblymember Tom Lackey, District Director for Assemblyman Lackey Vanessa Wilk, and former Congressman Steve Knight.
In her welcome to the standing-room-only group of volunteers, Homes 4 Families CEO Donna Deutchman said, “I am overwhelmed by the number of people here today and by the spirit. I have been overwhelmed since my first meeting in Palmdale by the spirit of the city of Palmdale and in the Antelope Valley in general and by the love of this community.”
Termeer, speaking on behalf of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, said “this is a project that she is very passionate about and proud to support. Some people may say that it’s just 56 homes in addressing the issue of homelessness, but it’s 56 homes that are housing people that need our respect and deserve these homes.”
“Take a look around here. When we put out the call for some help in the Antelope Valley, AV and Palmdale comes out,” Mayor Hofbauer said.
Lou Gonzales of Antelope Valley Chevrolet, army veteran and longtime supporter of the project, thanked his community and his fellow veterans. “Thank you to all the volunteers who will help build this great community that will forever be in Joyce and my heart. We love giving back to this community because we wouldn’t have what we have without the Antelope Valley.”
Homes 4 Families works closely with the California Department of Veterans Affairs and others to build permanent, thriving veteran communities. For more information, visit www.homes4families.org.
Sights from WE Build 2019
[Information and photos via Home 4 Families.]