Living with ALS: Purple Heart Homes for disabled veterans
CHARLOTTE, NC. Today, I’ll address the topics of homeowners insurance and the inadequate coverage we all pay for years and decades. There’s plenty to complain about in this area, but it’s particularly problematic for the disabled. Happily, however, in the process of dealing with my own homeowner disasters, I discovered a great service for disabled veterans.
Upon returning from a trip to Belgium and France last October, we noticed some water damage on the floor beneath the kitchen sink. We immediately contacted our favorite handyman who has done renovation and repair projects for us over the years. At first, we thought it nothing more than a leak, but we were quickly reminded that anytime Murphy and his law are involved, loookkkouuut!
Sure enough, “leak” only minimally described the situation. The tsunami was a far better characterization.
“Mr. Fixit” did his best imitation of the little Dutch boy sticking his thumb in the dike. But there was only so much he could do to temporarily alleviate the problem.
What do insurers insure for?
The next step was to call our insurance company to get an appraisal and file a claim.
“We’re so sorry. We’ll send someone right out to assess the damage. Just relax, you’re covered. We’ll take care of everything. Not to worry.”
Famous last words.
As promised, the appraiser arrived on time and things were going, for lack of a better term, “swimmingly.” That is, until he put a hole in the lifeboat.
“We’ve got a problem,” he said. “The damage was hidden and has been going on for quite some time. If you lived in South Carolina, Georgia or Virginia, you’d be covered, but not in North Carolina.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” I asked. “I don’t care about those other states. Our house is in North Carolina.”
“I’m just sayin.’ Just trying to explain,” he replied matter of factly.
“So basically you’re telling me that I need to periodically rip into the walls of my house to check for HIDDEN water damage in my kitchen or bathrooms so that I can notify you BEFORE we need to make a claim. Question: Why bother even having insurance?” I asked, getting increasingly angry with each word I spoke.
Is homeowners insurance actually a claim denial service?
In the 45 years, we have been in our house, we have filed three claims, two of which have been denied. The other refusal came following the residual effects of high winds and rain due to a hurricane that made landfall about 200 miles to the east along the coast. As with several other houses in the neighborhood, we suffered roof damage which resulted in leaks in the bathroom in the master bedroom and the den.
At least four of our neighbors submitted claims and received either a new roof or adequate repairs. In our case, however, we got a rejection.
Considering the results, we requested a second opinion. The insurance agency responded by sending the same adjuster who did the first analysis. Naturally, his conclusion was the same as before. To this day, several years after the event, the roof continues to leak.
If there is one consolation, it’s that those bright blue tarps on the roof area in the back where nobody can see them.
Enter the heroes of Purple Heart Homes
Several years later, while relating this tale of woe to a friend, she mentioned an organization called Purple Heart Homes and suggested we contact them.
Founded in 2008 by John Gallina and Dale Beatty, two combat-wounded veterans who returned to their community after being injured in Iraq in 2004, Purple Heart Homes is a 501(c)3 public charity dedicated to providing housing solutions for Service Connected Disabled Veterans and their families.
Having received such a warm welcome for their service, Gallina and Beatty began to question why all Veterans didn’t get the same levels of support and assistance that they had been given.
Guided by their mission “to provide housing for Service Connected Disabled and Aging Veterans that is substantial in function, design, and quality fit to welcome home the fighting men and women of America,” Purple Heart Homes has developed into a nationwide program somewhat similar Habitat For Humanity with a focus on veterans.
Since its inception more than a decade ago, PHH has helped more than 325 “Service Connected Disabled and Aging Veterans” either upgrade their current home or become first time owners.
Programs offered to disabled veterans by Purple Heart Homes
Currently, they offer three programs, each designed to satisfy specific individual needs: Veterans Aging in Place (VAIP), Veterans Homeownership Program (VHOP), and Operation Veteran Home Renovation (OVHR).
Purple Heart Homes fills the gaps in housing through the Veterans Aging In Place and Veterans Home Ownership Programs. From building a ramp for a veteran of World War II to providing homeownership opportunities for younger veterans, the programs are designed out to fit the specific needs of the veteran population.
Due to growing awareness, and consequently, demand, the answers, and their solutions are not easy. Compassionate and caring as Purple Heart Homes may be, the needs are overwhelming. That, in turn, requires similar patience and understanding on the part of those seeking assistance.
Sometimes miracles really do happen
When those criteria merge and both sides work together, miracles really do happen and everybody wins.
Currently, PHH provides aid to 89 vets in 27 states without discrimination to the era in which the veteran served. In their own words, Purple Heart Homes stands by the philosophy,
“We are Veterans… We are also the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, spouses and those who are proud to have a connection to our nation’s military.”
You see, if you look hard enough there is almost always a solution. For veterans, it may be a “band of brothers” whose hearts are purple rather than the avaricious black greed of an insurance industry that hides behind imaginary walls of compassion.
— Headline image: Storm damage. Image via Pixabay.com, public domain, CC 0.0 license.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up