6/23/11 Update: Statement from HFOT Founder on Knob Hill Board of Directors
Knob Hill Board of Directors Reverses Approval of Home for Severely Injured Veteran and Family
Taunton, Mass. (June 22, 2011) — Homes for Our Troops, the national organization which has helped rebuild the lives of over 100 of our most severely injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, through the gift of a specially- adapted home, has announced that the Board of Directors of the Knob Hill Property Owners Association in Evans, Georgia has reversed the prior approval by the Association’s President of the size and design of a specially adapted home for SFC Sean Gittens and his family. Building on the 2700 square foot home was to begin this Friday. Homes for Our Troops purchased the land in December and preparations for building the home have been ongoing over the past month. These homes are a reflection of the gratitude of the community and are given mortgage free to the veterans once complete.
Homes for Our Troops received building permits for the project and has been working closely with the Knob Hill Board of Directors, making multiple changes to the plans for the home as requested. The written approval came from Knob Hill BOD President Rick Trump on June 2nd. Late last week, a lawyer for the HOA served the contractors on site with a cease and desist letter to stop the preparation of the build site. Facing strong opposition from the Property Owners Association, the Knob Hill Board of Directors and the Property Owners Association met again on June 20th, just four days before the planned kickoff of the home build. Homes for Our Troops was then notified that the house plans do not meet the Knob Hill standards and the original approval was thus rescinded. Homes for Our Troops has now been told that it must begin anew the entire approval process and that the house needs to be at least 3400 square feet and multi-level to even be considered.
"Shockingly, it appears that the Knob Hill community has decided it does not want to welcome SFC Gittens and his family, as we were previously told," said Homes for Our Troops Founder John Gonsalves. "Despite our working closely with the Knob Hill Property Owners Association over the past four months, we find ourselves in an untenable situation. We cannot afford to add 700 square feet to the house, particularly under our special adaptive plans. And our experience in building over 100 homes dictates that severely injured veterans need a specially adapted single level home. Frankly, this late action begun by the Knob Hill Property Owners means we must suspend working on the home. The Knob Hill Property Owners Association has now assured that SFC Gittens and his family will not be able to have the home they so desperately need. We have done everything in our power to try to resolve this situation, but it appears that the community is not willing to accept this home, and SFC Gittens and his family into the community."
The General Contractor, Green & Burdette and the hundreds of Evans, Georgia volunteers who were prepared to join the Build Brigade this Friday, June 24th are on standby and ready to mobilize when directed. For more details, please go to www.homesforourtroops.org/knobhillseangittens.
During Veterans Week 2010, Homes for Our Troops launched the 100 More...Homes for Our Troops campaign. A backlog of severely injured veterans is currently awaiting homes, and the number of eligible applicants continues to grow. With America's support, Homes for Our Troops can build specially adapted homes for them all. Homes for Our Troops is completing the first 100 homes, and challenging Americans to provide the support needed to build the next 100 in record time.
About Homes for Our Troops: Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit 501c 3 organization based in Taunton, Mass. founded by John Gonsalves in 2004 (www.homesforourtroops.org). Homes for Our Troops mission is to build specially adapted homes for service members who have been severely injured in combat operations since September 11, 2001. All specially adapted homes are built at no cost to the veteran thanks to support from generous individuals, foundations and corporate contributors such as: Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, the Sierra Club Foundation, Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund, PGA Tour Charities, Mastic Home Exteriors, Volvo Rents, Harvey Building Products, Hardees/Carl’s Jr. and celebrities including Phil Mickelson and Singer Billy Joel. Homes for Our Troops is proud to be listed in the American Institute of Philanthropy’s top rated Veterans & Military Charities where it enjoys an A rating. It has received a Four Star Rating from Charity Navigator. Homes for Our Troops is a member of the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Green Building Council.