As South Florida and the rest of the country honors veterans Monday, one retired U.S. Army Sergeant-turned-realtor is making sure no veteran ends up homeless.
South Florida is now one of the top places in the U.S. for those coming off military service to settle. Many smoothly transition to civilian life, but for others, the stress of combat can lead to trouble.
Broward County said it's spending $600,000 a year to help veterans, while Miami-Dade is spending about $300,000 to help 1,000 vets in a variety of ways.
Enter Josef Barmoha.
Barmoha left South Florida to be an Army mechanic when he was in his teens. Now, he's back and has launched his nonprofit to address the trouble with veterans who are homeless or unable to afford a mortgage.
"So, as a veteran leaving the service knowing that that's the world we live in —the pain and suffering we had to deal with in a good way and in a bad way of course — we now have a home we can give to veterans that we can create mortgage free," Barmoha said.
Josef figured using containers to provide homes is the most efficient way to go. Most times the containers are seen on ships or on a truck. The name "Foxhole Command" has a special place for soldiers.
"A Foxhole, as you know, is when we are in a deployment status, we build a foxhole. That is our sectors of fire where we sleep, we eat," Barmoha said. "So, Foxhole Command is more so to save a life — give another life, another chance for veterans to do something good with themselves — create a family."
Barmoha said they can be adapted to fit the needs and wants of the veteran.
The vets who get a container home will also obtain a steady job — one that will help coordinate the next veteran selected and provides job skills working with contractors.
"At the same time we are providing an actual employment to the veteran," Barmoha said. "So, we are not only giving them a home."
Barmoha said he is working with county and local governments to obtain the land that's needed. Private developers and land owners are also in the mix when it comes to finding the property. The homes will be energy efficient, provide solar energy, and can withstand a Category 5 storm and beyond.
"The first home is planned and scheduled to be built in January," Barmoha said.
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